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Interfaith Hospital Bankruptcy Hearing Postponed

 A hearing to possibly take Interfaith Medical Center out of bankruptcy was postponed, hopital officials confirmed on Thursday.
A hearing to possibly take Interfaith Medical Center out of bankruptcy was postponed, hopital officials confirmed on Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A hearing that could take Interfaith Medical Center out of bankruptcy was pushed back one week, hospital officials confirmed on Tuesday.

The hearing, which was set for 2:30 p.m. on Friday, was postponed until May 30, "to provide time to finish documenting settlements and to provide a last opportunity to settle with a few remaining objectors," a hospital spokeswoman said.

Those objectors include creditors and other financially-interested parties, hospital sources said.

The decision comes amid reports that the Bed-Stuy hospital lost patients and staff throughout the bankruptcy process, though hospital officials said they remained confident in the hospital's growth despite the setbacks.

"We are rebuilding, we are hiring, we are reevaluating," said Melanie Cyganowski, the hospital's newly-appointed chief restructuring officer. "We're actually seeing this as an opportunity to think about how can we better staff and perform the functions that are needed."

Cyganowski said the losses in staff and patients were expected, due to the hospital's uncertain future. But with Interfaith poised to come out of bankruptcy soon, the executive said the next step would be to assure the community of its stability.

The hospital is also anticipating its bankruptcy exit in order to start applying for a portion of the state's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment — or DSRIP — funds, an $8 billion waiver approved by the federal government in February.

One requirement for that money is to lower the number of "unnecessary" patients admitted to the hospital, something Cyganowski said Interfaith is well-positioned for because of its offsite clinics and a new "fast track" emergency room process, which helps distinguishes between trauma and non-trauma.

"Frankly, as soon as we get out of bankruptcy, we're diving directly into the DSRIP process," she said.

Cyganowski was appointed CRO of the hospital in March as part of a deal with the state to take the hospital out of Chapter 11. A former bankruptcy judge, Cyganowski was chosen along with former Brookdale and Long Island College hospitals executive Steven Korf, who is serving as chief executive officer.

Hospital advocates shared Cyganowski's optimism. Diane Porter, an Interfaith board member and chair of the IM Foundation, said she has developed a good working relationship with the CRO.

"I think she is a woman of great integrity, and that she will serve the hospital well," Porter said.

Interfaith's money troubles began in 2010 when the state lowered Medicaid reimbursements, leading to a December 2012 bankruptcy filing.

Since that time, Interfaith was dealt a series of close calls, with a string of pushed-back closure proceedings that ultimately led to March's deal to keep the facility open.

Now the hospital is looking towards its future, Cyganowski said.

"What's more important to us is moving forward," she said. "What are the next steps to rebuilding, and how do we do that."