By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Supporters of two Brooklyn hospitals were set to march on Tuesday evening to bring attention to the plight of financially troubled Interfaith Medical Center, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Long Island College Hospital (LICH) in Cobble Hill.
Marchers said they planned to march from Interfaith and rally at King Emanuel Baptist Church, with Rev. Al Sharpton as the keynote speaker.
Interfaith filed for bankruptcy in December. A merger between Interfaith and The Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene, which was arranged by the state, has ground to a halt. Interfaith has only enough cash to operate through July.
According to Crain’s NY, one reason for the roadblock is that the state has not given Brooklyn Hospital the $1.6 million it needs to investigate Interfaith's finances before the potential merger.
According to Eliza Bates, spokesperson for the NYS Nurses Association, late last week the Department of Health rescinded its order that Interfaith submit a closure plan, “thanks to the work of the Brooklyn delegation, Assembly leaders, and reps from the Governor's office.”
Bates said, “Interfaith supporters and local representatives are working to pursue real financial solutions to keep [Interfaith] open.”
Meanwhile at LICH, SUNY Downstate administrators, despite a court order to the contrary, closed critical care wards late last week and banned ambulances from the emergency room, leaving a large swath of western Brooklyn with no nearby emergency facilities.
Financially troubled SUNY Downstate submitted a restructuring plan to the state last month that calls for shrinking Downstate and forming a network with other Brooklyn hospitals. SUNY began implementing the plan June 15.
Brooklyn health advocates have called for a moratorium on all hospital closures in the borough.