Today’s news:

Stop-gap measure keeps LICH school-based clinics running

The cash-strapped Long Island College Hospital (LICH) received a boost last week thanks to a state government stop-gap measure.

Gov. David Paterson, the State Senate and Assembly allocated $300,000 in grants to the Boerum Hill hospital, located at 339 Hicks Street, to keep its four school-based clinics open and operating for the new school year.

The funding serves health care support services for several thousand students in four Brooklyn public schools.

The clinics operate in the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Boerum Hill neighborhoods and include the Brooklyn School for Collaborative Studies, 610 Henry Street;Middle School 51, 350 5th Avenue; Public School 38, 450 Pacific Street; and the School for Global Studies, 284 Baltic Street.

“Improving access to quality health care for children in New York State is one of my highest priorities,” said Paterson. “School-based health clinics play an important role in keeping children healthy and ready to learn. This additional funding will help keep these four school-based clinics open so that they can continue to deliver critical services to children in Brooklyn.”

Borough president Marty Markowitz lauded the move and gave a special thank-you to borough lawmakers in Albany, including Senators Velmanette Montgomery, Eric Adams, and Daniel Squadron; and Assemblymembers James Brennan, Hakkem Jeffries and Joan Millman, in whose district the clinics and hospital are located.

“These clinics are the first line of defense for health threats such as MRSA and the H1N1 flu virus,” said Millman. “In addition, they are cost-effective investments of public resources because they reduce emergency room visits and increase school attendance and performance.”

The money comes as LICH continues talks of a pending merger with SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

It also comes after LICH’s management consortium, Continuum Health Partners (CHP), threatened last year to close the maternity, pediatric and dentistry wards amid a growing budget gap of upwards of $40 million, and would have closed the clinics this year.

“LICH thanks the elected officials and concerned citizens who were instrumental in securing New York State Department of Health assistance to operate the School Based Health Program for the 2009-2010 school year,” said Dominick Stanzione, LICH Interim President & Chief Restructuring Officer.

“These funds will allow LICH to continue to operate the health programs at the four schools for this additional school year,” he added.

DOH Commissioner Richard F. Daines said the funding will offer supplemental funding in this unique situation as LICH works to develop new partnerships to stabilize its future.

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