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11-day postponement gives nurses unions, pols chance to file legal challenge

Court date shuffle gives would-be Interfaith saviors window of opportunity

The Brooklyn Paper
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The court tasked with overseeing the financial execution of a Bedford-Stuyvesant hospital is keeping the Inter-faith alive, if only for an extra week and a half.

Activists bent on keeping the Interfaith Medical Center open have a little legal breathing room thanks to a court reprieve that will push the closure process back 11 days.

The Eastern District bankcruptcy court was scheduled to approve the Interfaith closure plan Aug. 15, but a judge has postponed the hearing until Aug. 26, giving hospital advocates extra time to file for an injunction to halt the sudden shuttering.

“Our lawyers are working on every possible angle to make sure the community needs are met here,” said Dan Lutz. spokesman for the New York State Nurses Association, a union.

Hospital staffers and politicians, including public advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill DeBlasio, are also planning to fight the hospital shutdown through street protests.

“The legal angle is just one angle,” Lutz said.

The nurses association and 1199 Service Employees International Union together represent most of the 1,544 Interfaith employees.More than 150 hospital advocates showed up to a first protest rally on Thursday night despite driving rain.

“This is about care for all of Brooklyn,” said registered nurse Charmayne Saddler-Walker. “Not one hospital should close in our borough.”

The hospital on Atlantic Avenue between Albany and Troy avenues is set to close in mid-November if the state gets its way, forcing the 300,000 mostly poor and uninsured people who use its services annually to look elsewhere for health care. Managers had planned to stop accepting ambulances and admitting new patients on Aug. 15.

Interfaith is the second borough hospital to start shutting down this year. Long Island College Hospital announced its shuttering in February. Workers and pols are pushing back against that closure in court and in street protests, but only a few patients remain in the Cobble Hill facility.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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