Interfaith Medical Center got an early Christmas present with the announcement that Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Health will provide $8 million to go towards keeping it open and operational until March 7, 2014.
The struggling 230-bed hospital filed for bankruptcy on July 31, 2013—the second time it did so in a year—following cuts to federal Medicaid reimbursements. However, residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Central Brooklyn have refused to let an integral part of the regional healthcare system go without a fight.
Interfaith’s initial proposed closure plan would have had it shut down by mid-December, but that timetable has been postponed repeatedly as unions and supporters engage in legal battles and mediation to try and find an alternative solution to bankruptcy and closure.
“Losing Interfaith is not an option,” said Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio back in July. “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.”
Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries praised the state’s decision, expressing thanks on behalf of Bed-Stuy and its neighboring communities to the governor and state health department for “recognize[ing] the need to continue supporting Interfaith Medical Center at this difficult moment. The hospital remains on life support, but today we have taken a significant step forward by avoiding closure.”