Protest in Albany looks to push back against SUNY Downstate closure plans
Hospital staff at SUNY Downstate Medical Center held a rally in Albany Tuesday to protest the potential closure of the city's only state-run hospital. The controversy started earlier this year when the state notified the hospital about the potential closure citing concerns over finances and a deteriorating building. Those in opposition disagree with the move expressing concerns over staffing cuts and economic impacts. Nurses, doctors, and those who grew up attending SUNY Downstate boarded a bus to the state's capital to keep the center alive, saying this hospital is needed. "There's nothing as close as this people will now have to travel further... this isn't your normal hospital you go to but you just need it right there on the spot. It's good to just have something close by than having to go out your way for it," said nearby resident David Boutros.
According to the hospital's website, they are one of the largest employers in Brooklyn with more than half of their 4,000 employee workforce living in the borough. They also pride themselves on serving more than 2,100 students and close to 1,000 residents. The rally's goal was to change the minds of the governor and SUNY chancellor from closing it for good. Many say the rally was needed to keep a place that represents Flatbush alive, including State senator Zellnor Myrie who spoke passionately about the damage this change could mean for employers and the people they serve. If the closure goes forward, the closure plan is expected to take place over a two-year window.