Northwell Health looks into preserving healthcare in Brooklyn

Northwell Health – formerly North Shore-LIJ – is in conversation with the Cuomo administration about a deal that would put it at the helm of a network aimed at restoring some troubled hospitals in Brooklyn.

A New York State Department of Health (DOH) watch list which named 28 hospitals currently in a state of “financial distress,” include the borough’s Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, all of which could be impacted by the move, according to Crain’s.

According to Crain’s, the hospitals have remained open because of “government help” and their status as “safety-net” health systems –meaning they provide a significant level of care to low-income, uninsured, and vulnerable populations.

The deal, Crain’s says, would utilize roughly $700 million in state dollars, specifically reserved for rebuilding Brooklyn’s troubled health care system through the Capital Restructuring Financing Program. Talk of a feasibility study has surfaced as well.

“The state Department of Health (DOH) has reached out to a number of large health systems to get their perspective on potential solutions to the vexing problems facing healthcare providers in central and northern Brooklyn,” Terry Lynam, Northwell Health’s senior VP and chief public relations officer, told this paper. “Northwell Health’s primary focus in Brooklyn is Maimonides Medical Center. We continue to talk to state officials and will try to be helpful where we can, but there is no agreement on a feasibility study.”

Northwell’s partnership with Maimonides was finalized last August. The two health care systems agreed to a strategic partnership rather than a full-asset merger.

“Maimonides is now a key strategic partner with North Shore-LIJ as our health system seeks to expand its presence in Brooklyn,” President and CEO of Northwell Health (at the time North Shore-LIJ) Michael Dowling, said of the partnership last year. “We look forward to combining our complementary strengths as we work with the Maimonides Board and management team to identify other opportunities to meet the critical health needs of the borough’s 2.6 million residents.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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