Healthcare Business News

N.Y. lets troubled Brooklyn hospital stay open three more months

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: January 10, 2014 - 3:45 pm ET

Struggling Interfaith Medical Center has received a three-month reprieve from the New York State Department of Health, allowing the community hospital in New York's impoverished Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood to stay open through early March.

It was unclear why the state health department in December granted the reprieve, a spokeswoman for the 277-bed Brooklyn hospital said, but the decision garnered support from local lawmakers.

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“To ensure the health and safety needs of patients and residents of the community are met, the state has provided additional funding to Interfaith Medical Center,” a state health official said. “The state will continue to work closely with the facility and other stakeholders towards establishing a quality, accessible and sustainable healthcare delivery system to serve patients and community residents.”

Interfaith received $3.5 million to keep its doors open from Jan. 7 to Feb. 6, after which it will request additional funding from the state for the remaining month of the reprieve, the spokeswoman said.

Interfaith, which had filed for bankruptcy in December 2012, was scheduled to close Jan. 7. The reprieve will keep the hospital open until March 7.

Interfaith’s total revenue fell to $191.9 million in 2012, down about 8% compared with $208.8 million in 2011. According to the hospital’s bankruptcy filings, about 65% of Interfaith’s patients are covered by Medicaid.

“While (Interfaith Medical Center) fulfills a vital mission in its community, the economic pressures on IMC, particularly Medicaid reimbursement cuts in the face of legacy long-term debt and medical malpractice liabilities relating to services no longer performed, now impose an unbearable economic burden,” the hospital wrote in its 2012 filing.

Gentrification and urban renewal have come to other once downtrodden areas abutting Bed-Stuy, but the hospital’s core market area remains one of the poorer areas in the rapidly revitalizing north Brooklyn area.

As closing looms over the facility, a local theater company is staging performances at Interfaith of an Edward Albee play, “The Death of Bessie Smith,” which deals with issues of race and health. Shows are followed by discussions of issues revolving around race and healthcare, including Interfaith’s imminent closure. Bed-Stuy is a historically African-American neighborhood.

Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee

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