Interfaith Medical Center files for bankruptcy protection

December 3, 2012 3:21:26 PM PST
Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn has filed for bankruptcy protection due to financial troubles.

A quarter million people go to the hospital every year and most live in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.

"If they close Interfaith, what will I do when I get sick the next time," said Myra Williams, emergency room patient.

That's the question many in Brooklyn are asking after learning Interfaith Medical Center has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to restructure its debt and keep its doors open.

"The reimbursements we're getting per patient, we are on our own," said Errol Rayson, charge nurse.

Veteran nurse Errol Rayson echoes the hospital's written explanation of its rocky fiscal position-blaming reduced Medicaid reimbursements from the state.

The hospital said, "Despite our hard work to reduce costs, it became impossible to continue to operate under those rate reductions without an operating loss."

The real loss may be to the people of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights who have depended on Interfaith for their health care needs for decades.

This is a predominantly poor, African American and Caribbean community where at least 65% of the population is dependent on Medicaid.

"You have large portions of the population that's on public assistance or disability. This is their main stay," said Eugenia Brooks, an outpatient.

"That's the closest one for this area. A lot of people will have to travel elsewhere, that will be very inconvenient for the elderly, especially in case of emergency," said Esther Keith, a patient.

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