Borough leaders mobilize to save SUNY Downstate
by Rafael Lacayo
Aug 15, 2012 | 2005 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elected official and medical professionals are urging the state to preserve services and medical training at State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center (Downstate) in Brooklyn.

The medical facility faces a major operating deficit, and a significant restructuring is necessary for the institution’s survival. But elected officials in the area have sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo noting that the borough has already lost valuable medical services and can't afford to lose more.

Downstate’s Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill has already laid off 150 employees, and over 400 more Downstate employees will receive contract-mandated notice of future layoffs this month.

The elected officials are calling on the state to come up with a comprehensive plan to ensure the facility's long-term viability.

“Cutting services and jobs now may help Downstate’s ledger in the short-term, but without a credible strategic plan and the input of stakeholders we run the risk of seriously undermining the viability of the institution in the long-term,” read the letter, which was signed by over 20 Brooklyn elected officials.

Meanwhile, Downstate employees held a rally outside of the Medical Center in Propsect Lefferts Gardens last week.

“We are fighting job cuts in Central Brooklyn,” said Edison Bond, vice president of United University Professions (UFP). “The quality of life for working-class citizens is important,’ said Bond.

According to Laurie Davidson, an organizer for the Doctors Council, if SUNY Downstate starts making cuts, patients will be forced to go to Kings County hospital, which is across the street from SUNY Downstate, but that the hospital simply has no room.

“Kings County is over capacity,” she said.

Workers at SUNY Downstate have already received notices saying their jobs were being eliminated. Chapter President of UUP, Rowena Blackman, is urging people from the area who support the cause to petition Cuomo through emails or letters.

“We have written letters telling the SUNY Board to stop the cuts,” said Blackman.

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