De Blasio: Interfaith closure ‘ain’t over till it’s over’

Bill de Blasio at a rally to save Interfaith. (Bill de Blasio.)
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Dan Goldberg

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Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the battle to save Interfaith Medical Center is far from over, despite an impending order to close the Brooklyn hospital.

"We've been to this rodeo before,” de Blasio said during a press conference to announce his child-services commissioner. “Remember with Long Island College Hospital, we were supposed to be on death's door more times than I could literally count ... and we fought back with popular efforts from the grassroots and we fought back with legal action and we're going to go right back again.”

Interfaith is losing about $3 million each month, and a bankruptcy judge is expected to issue an order on Monday announcing the closure of the facility, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

Interfaith filed for bankruptcy more than a year ago, but a deal to salvage at least part of the hospital appeared possible, when the parties entered mediation in November.

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But no plan has emerged to save the facility, and closure proceedings could begin as soon as Thursday if an agreement is not reached.

"We know we have to find cost savings," said de Blasio, who ran on a pledge to prevent hospital closures. "You know I'm a progressive guy, but I can count. We need to find cost savings. We will find cost savings. Facilities will look different, but they'll be able to provide meaningful and immediate health care to community members. That's what we need to achieve."

Local, state, and federally elected officials have released statements in support of Interfaith and Long Island College Hospital, and a group of local electeds sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo last week, requesting the state fund the hospital while Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center considers a plan to take over its operations.

So far, no solution has been offered, but de Blasio said he would keep up the fight.

"So we're going to fight on all those fronts but, you know, it ain't over till it's over and we're going to go right back and address the Interfaith situation," he said.

--Additional reporting by Sally Goldenberg