The dilapidated Interfaith Medical Center in Crown Heights is getting a big boost, as members of New York’s congressional delegation announced an influx of $3 million in federal funding to the battered hospital.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Chuck Schumer, two Brooklyn residents who serve as the two most powerful Democrats in the nation’s legislative branch, gathered outside the hospital on Friday along with fellow Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Interfaith management to celebrate the cash infusion.
“It is critically important that the healthcare heroes here at Interfaith Medical Center and across the One Brooklyn Health system have the ability to do their tremendous work in the most modern environment possible,” said Jeffries, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. “Interfaith has been providing high-quality, compassionate care and 21st-century care in 20th-century infrastructure.”
More than 50,000 Brooklynites are treated in Interfaith‘s decades-old emergency department each year, according to the hospital’s website, and roughly 15% of people who receive outpatient care at the hospital do not have insurance and cannot pay for their own healthcare — making the medical center a crucial outpost for equity in the medical field.
The emergency department was last renovated decades ago, and needs help to stand up to the challenge of caring for Brooklynites, the pols said.
“Over a quarter million patients rely on Interfaith Medical Center every year to see their doctors, take care of their mental and behavioral health needs, and access medical care during emergencies,” said Gillibrand. “I am proud to be joining Democratic Leader Jeffries to announce the $3 million we secured in last year’s government funding package that is helping finance the infrastructure, technology, and layout improvements that the emergency department needs to better serve its more than 50,000 annual visitors.
Interfaith will use the $3 million to improve the department’s layout, technology, and infrastructure to better serve patients, according to hospital leadership.
The One Brooklyn Health system — which includes Interfaith, Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center — serves hundreds of thousands of people in central Brooklyn, which has historically lacked adequate medical resources.
According to the state’s Vital Brooklyn Initiative, emergency room visits in central Brooklyn are much higher than they are elsewhere in the state, and primary care doctors are few and far between.
Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights — the two nabes Interfaith serves directly – have higher rates of HIV, obesity and diabetes, and psychiatric hospitalizations, according to OBH’s most recent Community Service Plan.
“Expanding access to high quality medical care has been one of my biggest priorities and we continue to achieve more and more success across New York,” said Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader. “Today’s announcement is a great example of federal funds being used to ensure historically underserved communities have the same access and quality services as anywhere else would.”