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Judge Approves Plan To Keep Long Island College Hospital Open

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A plan was approved by a judge Tuesday to find a new operator for Long Island College Hospital and keep it in operation.

The State University of New York announced the settlement agreement among all parties involved in LICH litigation has been approved by Brooklyn Supreme Court justices Johnny Lee Baynes and Carolyn E. Demarest, as well as the state court Appellate Division and state Attorney General Eric Schiederman.

SUNY will now issue requests for proposals for a new operator for the hospital, and will exit operation of the facility no later than May.

The deal was first announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday . The LICH community and elected officials will participate in requesting proposals, following a seven-day selection period for a new operator.

The agreement ends a controversy that goes back several months as the state struggled to decide the next steps for the Cobble Hill medical center which now only sees a trickle of patients.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that he hopes the agreement will not only beep LICH open, but end "a really unfortunate, unnecessary, destructive time in this city – an epidemic of hospital closings that became a normal, featured landscape in New York City over the last 12 years."

The mayor said 15 hospitals closed when his predecessor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, was serving between 2003 and 2012.

This past summer, Mayor de Blasio -- then public advocate -- was among those arrested, protesting because they feared SUNY would close the hospital and sell the property.

The New York State Health Department had approved closing LICH back in July. But the following month, 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.

In the interest of implementing the new plan, SUNY has received strong proposals in a previous solicitation that have already received broad support from community and religious groups, and has asked for qualified bidders to resubmit their proposals.

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