Interfaith in Talks With Kingsbrook on Possible Takeover

By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times
October 15, 2013 Updated: October 15, 2013

NEW YORK—Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center has been in high-level daily discussions with Interfaith Medical Center about taking over Interfaith’s clinics as the financially crippled hospital awaits a decision from bankruptcy court.

The state has dubbed Interfaith a vital access provider for central Brooklyn, eligible for $13 million to $16 million in supplemental funding. The state also mandated that the services provided by the hospital, which also operates 16 clinics in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, must remain intact.

While the bankruptcy court makes a decision on Interfaith’s closure plan, the state has funded the hospital with two additional installments of $3 million so it can continue providing services.

Chief executive officers and board members from Kingsbrook and Interfaith have had open and productive discussions, according to Melissa Krantz, a spokeswoman for Interfaith. Krantz added that it was premature to speculate about how Interfaith might look in the future, with much depending on the bankruptcy court’s ruling.

Bankruptcy Court

If the court rules for a full closure, the hospital would start to implement its closure plan, which includes transitioning facilities and services to other operators.

Should the court adjourn its decision, the discussions between Kingsbrook and Interfaith would continue, but a takeover or merger cannot happen without the court weighing in on the issues.

“The state is a major player for this, and the court has to look out for what is best for the creditors. There are a lot of constituents involved,” Krantz said.

Interfaith’s next bankruptcy court appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 15, but was postponed to Nov. 4.

Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center did not return requests for comment before press deadline.

Takeover Concern

Some union leaders, including Tony Howell, vice president of 1199SEIU, have expressed concern about a potential takeover resulting in a reduction of emergency services.

Interfaith has been losing about $1.5 million dollars monthly. The losses are due in part to the loss of state funding in form of Medicaid reimbursements that were cut by 40 percent from 2010 to 2012.

More than 95 percent of Interfaith’s patients have Medicaid or are uninsured. The State of New York is the hospital’s only source of funding.

Interfaith started bankruptcy proceedings in December last year. In June it submitted a restructuring plan to the Department of Health but was told to instead submit a closure plan.

Rally

Another rally was held at Interfaith on Monday. Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, State Senator Eric Adams, and incoming Council Member Laurie Cumbo attended.

Mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio and incoming Public Advocate Letitia James were scheduled to participate, but were absent.

RECOMMENDED