NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio announced Monday that layoffs of 500 will be postponed at the struggling Long Island College Hospital.
The hospital, which SUNY Downstate has been seeking to close in recent months, was set to lay off 500 staff members beginning Tuesday. De Blasio earlier Monday joined nurses and health care workers as he announced plans for legal action to halt the firings that he said would have assured closure of some medical units at the hospital.
The hospital is under a court order to maintain services.
De Blasio released a statement upon the announcement that the layoffs will be postponed.
"This hospital is still open for care because this community takes nothing for granted," he said. "These layoffs were another backdoor attempt at closing L.I.C.H., and SUNY presented them as a done-deal. We knew better."
De Blasio said he will "keep up the fight" until a deal is reached to keep LICH open under a new operator.
In August, the hospital was ordered to restore services to the levels where they stood prior to July 19 – the day the New York State Health Department approved closing the facility.
The judge also appointed an independent monitor to keep its eye on SUNY.
At least some of the credit for the move went de Blasio, who has made the threats to close the hospital into a campaign issue, and even got arrested during a rally for the hospital.
After the hospital got the green light for closure from the state, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that de Blasio said would have called for financial penalties if SUNY Downstate closed LICH.
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