BREAKING: Interfaith Medical Center may begin closure in mid-August

Interfaith Medical Center, located at 1545 Atlantic Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has requested permission to begin the process of shutting down the hospital on August 15, according to documents presented in bankruptcy court today (Wednesday, July 31).

Hospital administrators said that the State Health Department ordered the closure, preventing them from coming up with alternatives.

Interfaith’s suggested plan goes like this:

  • Thursday, August 15: Halt patient intake and begin diverting ambulances to other hospitals.
  • Thursday, August 22: The last surgeries will be performed.
  • Saturday, September 14: Shut down the Emergency Department.
  • Sunday, September 15: Transfer remaining patients to other hospitals.
  • Tuesday, October 15: Halt outpatient programs.
  • Thursday, November 14: End detoxification and rehabilitation programs. Shut doors.

Interfaith previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection eight months ago, in December, 2012. That effort to prevent such a closure as may happen now apparently was for naught.

The news comes as Brooklyn residents and politicians protest the struggling state of the borough’s hospital and healthcare system, and protest the closure of hospitals such as Interfaith and Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill.

“The closure of Interfaith will be a blow to the people and neighborhoods of central Brooklyn who need health care services and that is unacceptable,” said Kirsten John Foy, chair of the Brooklyn Conference of Chapters of the National Action Network. “First it was St. Mary’s Hospital, now it’s Interfaith; what is clear is that this hospital is on the front lines of fighting the dual scourges of gun violence and HIV/AIDS. Its closure would represent a retreat in our battle to save lives, equating to a death sentence for hundreds, if not thousands, of New Yorkers.”

“Losing Interfaith is not an option,” concurred Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who added that “No one of conscience can stand idly by while more than 175,000 Brooklynites are forced farther from their nearest emergency room, or lose critical HIV-AIDS and mental health services. We’re prepared to take whatever steps are required—from direct action to appealing to the courts—to keep the doors of community hospitals open.”

According to a report released by de Blasio, “175,000 residents Bed-Stuy and the surrounding neighborhoods would be forced farther from the nearest Emergency Room if Interfaith closes.”

Foy also emphasized the need for potential legal and reform action, stating that “corporate interest and mismanagement have hemorrhaged cash out of the hospital and left it in financial straits, which is deeply troubling and calls for a serious investigation rather than a shuttering of the hospital.”

We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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