Update: Interfaith has been granted a last minute reprieve. Today the state agreed to give the struggling hospital $25 million, which should keep it open through March 14.
It’s been a rough year for hospitals. The prices of cancer drugs are exorbitant. The Affordable Care Act is slowly, but surely changing the landscape of the medical world. And then there’s money. There’s not enough of it. Today, DNAinfo reports, Governor Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio sat down at the capitol to discuss just how dire the situation is and Brooklyn’s name came up. If federal funds aren’t freed up soon, three Brooklyn hospitals, Interfaith Medical Center, Long Island College Hospital and Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, will close by the end of February.
Bed-Stuy’s Interfaith Medical Center has been embattled by money woes for months and is in the worst shape. So bad, in fact, that it could close by the end of the month, which is a mere four days away. In a lawsuit the state claims that Interfaith has mishandled their funding, spending $5 million per month, and that the administration has proven uncooperative. The hospital and its staff have been threatened with a shutdown six times since June 2013.
The medical center hit rock bottom when CEO Patrick Sullivan issued an order that ambulances be turned away in a last ditch effort to save money. Sullivan resigned (or was fired) soon afterward. Ironically, Interfaith and the New Brooklyn Theater just extended the run of their sold-out production of Edward Albee’s “The Death of Bessie Smith,” a 1959 play about a blues singer who dies after a whites-only hospital refuses to treat her. The Times called it “well timed” in the face of Interfaith’s funding woes.
“We’ve been living, unfortunately, hand-to-mouth,” Mayor De Blasio told reporters. “We’ve waited a long time for fairness in New York State, and it’s time for action.”
The price of fairness is about $10 billion, which should be enough to cover the $1 billion it costs to run a public hospital in Brooklyn for a year.
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