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Judge Orders Mediation in Interfaith Bankruptcy Case

Tuesday, November, 19, 2013


Advocates for Interfaith Medical Center were relieved to learn earlier this week that the Chief Bankruptcy Judge Carla E. Craig put off making a final determination about closing the failing hospital, sending the case instead to mediation. 


Mediation is being used as an opportunity to reach a compromise regarding the plans submitted by supporters of the hospital and the closure plan that’s supported by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and the New York Department of Health.  Elizabeth Strong, a bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of New York was assigned as the case mediator. 


Supporters of the hospital want to keep all of the inpatient hospital beds, a good portion of which are for psychiatry patients.  The other closure plan backed by the state wants to move the outpatient clinics and the urgent care center to the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, although this transition would not include the hospital’s inpatient beds.  The state’s goal with this recommendation is a new model of health care that promotes clinics instead of hospitals. 


The counsel for Interfaith believes that everyone is invested in saving Interfaith if that was a reasonable proposition.  The supporters of the hospital feel as though they have submitted a comprehensive plan that is simply not being considered seriously by the other groups submitting plans for Interfaith.  The closing process is structured to begin on December 26th and proponents of the second plan believe that Kingsbrook would need more time to prepare before taking over the Interfaith clinics.  Both sides believed that action needed to be taken quickly in order to preserve as much of Interfaith’s base as possible, and the supporters of the hospital claimed that their hands were tied as a result of an exclusivity agreement with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and the New York Department of Health.