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One more lifeline for Interfaith

Stephon Johnson | 1/31/2014, 1:04 p.m.
Interfaith Medical Center (IMC) has become the last house that the big bad wolf can’t blow down.
Activists rally to stop the closure of Interfaith Medical Center

Interfaith Medical Center (IMC) has become the last house that the big bad wolf can’t blow down.

On Monday, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a judge threw the medical facility a financial lifeline when the court approved $7.5 million in funds that will keep the hospital open and operating through mid-February. At that time, Interfaith will present to the court a new plan to stay open.

The court granted Interfaith immediate access to $3.5 million, which was promised previously but withheld by the state, and threw in another $4 million in vital Access Provider funds. According to a joint statement by the New York State Nurses Association and 1199SEIU (unions that represent Interfaith employees), if parties can agree to terms by Feb. 10, more money would become available.

As the AmNews reported last week, hospital officials noted that the state attempted to cut off the funds IMC owed because the hospital board voted to continue operating the medical center’s clinics rather than hand over the reins to Kingsbrook Medical Center. IMC almost closed in December, but a last-minute financial reprieve via emergency state funding was supposed to keep the facility afloat until March 2014. Before this week, most of those funds still hadn’t been released.

On top of that, IMC CEO Patrick Sullivan was forced to resign by the hospital’s board of trustees after he ordered that ambulances be diverted from IMC. The order was immediately lifted after his removal.

The Interfaith issue has made its way to Albany as well. On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo discussed the Brooklyn hospital issue with Mayor Bill de Blasio at his side. Both elected officials asked the federal government to pitch in to save hospitals like Interfaith and Long Island College Hospital, which is also struggling financially. Their request? A Medicaid waiver of $10 billion, which (according to de Blasio and Cuomo) equals the savings the state provides to Washington, D.C., through various efficiency programs.