BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — Interfaith Medical Center has asked a bankruptcy court for permission to close by mid-November, the hospital announced on Wednesday.
A week after the state rejected a restructuring plan from the hospital, asking instead for a closure plan, the hospital's CEO on Wednesday announced they were moving ahead to shutter the facility.
“Interfaith Medical Center is moving forward with the steps outlined in the closure plan and will continue to work closely with the State Health Department throughout the closure process,” said CEO Patrick Sullivan.
There is a court hearing set for Aug. 15 to approve the closure. If the closure is approved as expected, the hospital will stop taking new patients and will stop receiving ambulances. Surgeries end on Aug. 22, and the emergency department will close on Sep. 14.
The hospital will stop all outpatient programs on Oct. 15, and will close on Nov. 14, according to the spokeswoman.
"The New York State Department of Health received the Interfaith Medical Center Closure Plan on July 25," a health department spokesman said in an email. "The Plan is in the final stages of DOH review. To ensure the health and safety needs of the residents of the community are met, DOH will continue to work closely with Interfaith Medical Center to effectuate an orderly process."
The hospital has already begun the process of informing its employees, the Interfaith spokeswoman said.
Members of the hospital's community advisory board were shocked by the news.
"They'll spend [millions] on a closure plan, but not a dime on a keeping-it-open plan," said board member and district leader Robert Cornegy. "Which to me is absolutely ridiculous."
The hospital's community advisory board chair Sharronie Perry said the board is meeting with lawyers to look into filing a lawsuit against the state to keep the hospital open.
Interfaith's financial troubles started in 2010, when the State reduced Medicaid reimbursements. The problems came to a head in December, when the hospital filed for bankruptcy.
The state last week rejected a restructuring plan from Interfaith Hospital, asking instead for a closure plan, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, who said there would now be 175,000 central Brooklyn residents who would be "forced farther from the nearest emergency room," criticized the closure plan.
“Losing Interfaith is not an option," de Blasio said in a statement. "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.”
Asked about the possible closure of Brooklyn hospitals at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the matter was up to the state.
"Look, if you have hospitals that are so small that they don't have all the technology that you'd like to have at a bigger hospital, or that they just don't have the use of beds and they can't afford it, then the reality is you can't have a hospital on every corner," Bloomberg said. "That's up to the state, but that's what you see playing out all across this country."