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Interfaith gets new lease on life - Brooklyn Paper

Interfaith gets new lease on life

Bad medicine: Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Interfaith Medical Center is set to close, making it the second Brooklyn hospital, along with Long Island College Hospital, to begin shutting down this year. Like workers at the Cobble Hill medical center, Interfaith staffers are vowing to fight the closure.
Associated Press

Interfaith Medical Center is out of the hole after a contentious year-and-a-half process that threatened to shutter it for good.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital has emerged from bankruptcy after the state agreed to foot its bills through March 2015, even as it moved to wash its hands of Long Island College Hospital three-and-a-half miles up Atlantic Avenue. Interfaith’s management wants Brooklynites to know that the hospital, unlike its Cobble Hill counterpart, is open for business.

“It has been a difficult road but Interfaith Medical Center stands proud and welcomes the people of central Brooklyn to use its medical facilities for primary and urgent care,” said Melanie Cyganowski, the hospital’s chief restructuring officer. “Our clinics stand ready to assist everyone for whatever the need.”

The state has been giving Interfaith cash infusions piecemeal since December, though it briefly refused to hand over $7.5 million when the hospital insisted on keeping control of its outpatient clinics.

Now that the state has installed its own leadership at the healthcare facility, drastic restructuring likely lies ahead, as explained by Gov. Cuomo in a February interview with WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer.

“This is about transforming hospitals that are financially un-sustainable because they have beds that are un-needed,” he said, addressing how matching federal Medicaid money will be spent at beleaguered hospitals including Interfaith. “Will it mean that some hospital beds are reduced? Yes, because that’s the point of the exercise.”

What specific changes are in store at Interfaith is up in the air, according to a hospital rep.

“That is to be determined,” said Interfaith spokeswoman Melissa Krantz. “Any other changes will not take place until the new board gets together and decides on a new direction.”

For now, hospital employees say they are not worrying about the possibility of losing their jobs and their hospital’s capacity to treat people.

“We are in the right place to make this hospital fabulous and to meet the needs of the community,” said registered nurse Charmayne Saddler-Walker.

The hospital currently contains 267 beds and employs about 1,500 employees.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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