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Interfaith closure fight has beginnings of a second Battle of Cobble Hill

Interfaith Medical Center to close, may join LICH in legal limbo

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.
The Brooklyn Paper
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Somebody call 911! Brooklyn hospitals are dropping like flies.

Interfaith Medical Center announced Tuesday that it is ending most of its programs but, in a scenario similar to the one playing out at Long Island College Hospital, Interfaith employees are fighting the closure they say will threaten lives for miles around.

“There is nothing to substitute for a comprehensive teaching hospital,” said Charmayne Saddler-Walker, a registered nurse at Interfaith.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital on Atlantic Avenue between Albany and Troy avenues has filed for bankruptcy and is set to close in mid-November, forcing the 300,000 mostly poor and uninsured people who use its services annually to look elsewhere for health care. Managers plan to stop accepting ambulances and admitting new patients on Aug. 15, according to court documents, but hospital staffers say they are prepared to battle the closure in court.

The move to close was not the hospital’s idea, though. Court papers show that the state rejected Interfaith’s restructuring plan, which was submitted as the hospital was hemorrhaging millions of dollars, and demanded that it close instead.

On Tuesday, hospital administrators admitted that they were in an untenable situation and agreed to use everything left in the budget to wind down services and pay all 1,544 employees their final paychecks.

Hospital officials said that the closure plan includes moving all remaining patients to other facilities.

“We are working closely with the state to make sure that every patient is provided for,” said Interfaith spokeswoman Melissa Krantz.

But Interfaith employees say that high health care costs and longer ambulance trips will put people in peril.

“If we do not stay open, people are going to be dying in [other] emergency departments,” said Jolannah Gregory, an Interfaith nurse and a member of the New York State Nurses Association, a union.

Interfaith is the second borough hospital to start shutting down this year. Long Island College Hospital announced its shuttering in February. Nurse unions and politicians are pushing back against that closure in court and in street protests, but only a few patients remain in the Cobble Hill facility.

Also, on Thursday, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Bushwick announced it will get rid of its family medical practice due to budget woes.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Well if this isn't a "wake up call" to stay healthy, then I don't know what is! We need to just go for a run and stay in shape. Doing this, we should be just fine. Of course, this is just one man's opinion.
Aug. 2, 2013, 9:18 am
Help I'm A Rock from Cuomo's Colon says:
Q: does anyone want to tell us the # of Brooklyn hospitals closed in the last 5-6 years? Starting with Victory Memorial and St Mary's...

No offense to you Danielle, it's your editors and ownership who are the idiots/don't give a ____.

In any case, good thing the population of Brooklyn has decreased in those years, right?
Aug. 2, 2013, 2:12 pm
LICH is STILL open for care from Cobble Hill says:
"Only a few patients remain" at LICH because SUNY Downstate officials who are now occupying LICH physically removed almost 200 of them, pulling them out of their LICH beds & sending them elsewhere, then prevented any others from getting a bed at LICH, removing them from LICH's emergency room & closing the admitting office. LICH is open for care & it is exceptional care from the nationally-ranked #2 hospital in Brooklyn & there is no wait because the ambulances are not allowed to bring patients. So if you need an ER or LICH's urgent care center the Fast Track center, & don't need an ambulance, just walk in & be treated right away.
Aug. 2, 2013, 9:26 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Wait for the Affordable Care Act!

Nothing is more expensive than Free health care!
Aug. 3, 2013, 5:11 pm

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