BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A closure hearing for Interfaith Medical Center has been pushed back for the second time this month, officials and supporters said on Monday.
Judge Carla E. Craig of the United States Bankruptcy Court adjourned a hearing on Interfaith's closure after the State Attorney General's Office said that the hospital still needed more time to prepare.
In a letter addressed to Craig on Friday evening, the attorney general's office argued that Interfaith Hospital "does not yet meet the [State Health Department's] requirements" to close the hospital.
"Interfaith continues to work with the department to have an acceptable plan that provides for continuity of patient care and other patient welfare and safety concerns," the letter read. "In order to insure the safety of patients and that these goals are met, we respectfully request a one month adjournment."
An emailed statement from a health department spokesman said the department, “requested the Federal Bankruptcy Court grant an extension in order to protect patients and ensure continuity of care. The court [Monday] granted an adjournment, giving DOH an opportunity to continue working toward a viable solution that meets the community’s needs.”
But a separate letter sent to the court by Interfaith said the attorney general's argument is inaccurate, and that the DOH never raised these concerns. The letter also asked the state to reimburse the hospital for the costs of staying open an extra month.
"[Interfaith] consents to the requested adjournment," the letter read. "[Interfaith's] consent is with the understanding that the economic cost to [Interfaith] from the adjournment will be reimbursed by New York State or one of its agencies."
Interfaith received $2.8 million from the state to coincide the adjournment, and the next hearing was scheduled for Sep. 11, sources said.
A bankruptcy court agreed in July to a request by Interfaith to close the hospital by mid-November. But an Aug. 15 closure hearing was pushed back, and closure plans were expected to begin after a hearing on Monday.
Monday's adjournment comes a week after mayoral candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio filed a motion to halt the hospital's closure, on the grounds that the closure plan was approved without a required 90-day review period.
"The State was wrong to race ahead to padlock this hospital," read a statement from de Blasio on Monday. "Now we have an opportunity to put a real plan in place that preserves the vital healthcare Bed-Stuy and Brooklyn desperately need."
Sharronie Perry, who attended Monday's hearing and chairs Interfaith's community advisory board, said that supporters are continuing to fight for a more permanent solution.
Local politicians, including Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, are meeting with the Governor's office in September to discuss ways to keep the hospital open.
"The bottom line is that its obvious the state doesn't have a real plan to phase out Interfaith," Perry said.