Employees, residents brace for start of Interfaith Medical Center’s shutdown

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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT (PIX11) – There is no endowment, no world renowned cancer center, and no VIP wing reserved for celebrity baby deliveries.

Instead, Interfaith Medical Center – located in the hard of hardscrabble Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn — serves as more of a last resort, a safety net for the working poor.

“I have two kids. A two-year-old and a four-year-old, who are prone to accidents. We always have to come here,” Person told PIX11.

It’s a medical safe haven for people like Bed-Stuy resident Nicole Person who arrived Thursday evening to visit her ailing cousin — only to find out this facility is closing for good.

“And when they close this place, i’m not sure where we’re going to go, because we have no other facility that’s in walking distance from my home. And I know that’s a lot for a lot of people in this community. The same thing applies. A lot of us don’t have cars”, Person said.

The source of the problem is simple –a lack of funding.

IMC executives tell Pix11 unlike major hospitals in the city, very few Interfaith patients pay for their own health care out of pocket.

Thirty-three percent of the adult patients who walk through the front door have no insurance at all.

But they say the nail in the coffin came when the state reduced the Medicaid reimbursement rate to the hospital by 40% leaving IMC deep in the red.

How is IMC’s shutdown — set to start Aug. 12 — going to affect this community on the heels of Long Island College Hospital’s 11th hour battle to remain open?

In court documents provided to PIX11 – the hospital states it tried unsuccessfully to work out a restructuring plan with the state, adding, “…as the debtor is the primary acute care provider to its community, failure of IMC to survive likely will have serious consequences for the provision of healthcare in that community.”

Shannon Lindsey is based in patient registration and has worked at Interfaith for 13-years.

“This medical center is very important for Bed-Stuy and crown heights. Right now, this is the only hospital within a radius of – I don’t even know how many miles to say, brooklyn hospital is already overwhelmed, Woodhull is way off, and kings county is already overwhelmed. The community is gonna be very, very disturbed if there’s no facility for them to go to. Oh this this is going to affect my livelihood totally. I have three kids that I have to take care of I have one in college, two high schoolers. If I have no finances – it’s going to be a hardship for me”, Lindsey told Dow.