Brooklyn locals are camping out at Interfaith Medical Center to keep it open

Posted at 7:49 PM, Aug 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-11 23:20:51-04

 (Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn)(WPIX11) – Brooklyn residents are lighting candles and preparing to spend the night, camping out in front of Interfaith Medical Center to protest its planned closing.

 In the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Interfaith Medical Center had served the city’s working poor since the turn of the last century.

 For many this is the only hospital they’ve ever known.

 “We all need this hospital in Brooklyn,” a hospital worker told PIX 11, afraid to give her name. “There are a lot of sick people here.

 We need this hospital to stay open,” the hospital worker added.

 But Interfaith officials say they must close November 14th because they are deeply in debt and they blame the state for cutting off their funding.

 Hospital officials say very few Interfaith patients pay out of pocket. 33 percent of the adult Interfaith patients have no insurance.

 The biggest blow to Interfaith came when the state reduced the Medicaid reimbursement rate to the hospital by 40 percent.

 People at the hospital and the organizers of this vigil are hoping they can keep Interfaith open.

 “This vigil will make a difference,” organizer Sharonnie Perry told PIX 11. “Governor Cuomo will meet with local elected officials.”

 “Also the Bankruptcy hearing in court was delayed from August 15th to August 26th.

That leaves us very optimistic that this hospital will remain open.” Perry added.