Interfaith Gets Holiday Reprieve From Closure with State Money.

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Longtime Medical Facility Serving Central Brooklyn  Remains on Life Support

By Stephen Witt

Call it a Christmas reprieve.

Interfaith Medical Center, which was slated to be ordered closed on Monday, won a last minute

stay of execution with a reported $2 million infusion of money from the State Department of

Health, according to sources at the hospital.

The money is expected to leave the beleaguered facility located at 1545 Atlantic Avenue open

another month, giving Interfaith’s unions, creditors, management and state officials a little more

time to negotiate the hospital’s fate.

“The community is thankful that Governor Cuomo and the State Department of Health have

recognized the need to continue supporting Interfaith Medical Center at this difficult moment,”

said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. “The hospital remains on life support, but today we have

taken a significant step forward by avoiding closure. Bedford-Stuyvesant and the communities

of Central Brooklyn deserve a thriving medical institution, and we will not rest until that vision

becomes a reality.”

The last minute reprieve occurred on the same day that a bankruptcy judge was expected to

approve Interfaith’s closing plan starting Jan. 7 with operations ceasing on Jan. 26.

Originally the plan called for the medical center closing on Dec. 26, but Interfaith’s board

expressed concern about transferring patients to other hospitals during the Christmas season,

when institutions typically must accommodate vacation schedules.

The bankruptcy court previously approved the transfer of some of Interfaith’s outpatient services

to Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. That hospital also agreed to take over several clinics that

Interfaith has including an HIV treatment center on Bergen Street, the Bishop O.G. Walker Jr.

Health Care Center, a dental clinic and an urgent care center on Atlantic Avenue.

Additionally, Kingsbrook is expected to help create a medical village or “other repurposing of

IMC’s current facilities to serve the health care needs of IMC’s community.”

Interfaith already filed a notice with the state Department of Labor that it plans to lay off 1,545

workers, including 1,405 union workers. At press time, the workers’ fate remains unclear but

precarious.

In its most recent financial disclosure, Interfaith reported being $4 million in the red from

operations in October on total revenue of $12.8 million. Total losses from its’ operations since

the Chapter 11 filing last year was $29.9 million. Interfaith also reported in its filings that

liabilities outstripped its assets by nearly $200 million.

Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams said while he hopes that Interfaith will remain

open, solutions to what quality health care will look like in Brooklyn in the coming years have

yet to be realized.

“Health care is a victim of its own medical success,” said Adams. “People no longer spend days

in the hospital. The brick and mortar of health care has changed. It’s no longer about the size of

the hospital but about quality care.”

Adams said the discussion centered around health care should be around travel distance and with

Obama Care, the need to open more preventive care facilities shifting primary care away from

emergency rooms.

If Interfaith closes it will become the eleventh New York City hospital to close since 2007.