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Demonstrators Rally To Keep 'Safety Net' Interfaith Medical Center Open

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Community leaders and medical professionals rallied Thursday in an effort to save Interfaith Medical Center from closing.

Employees of the Bedford-Stuyvesant medical center who were given pink slips on Wednesday were out protesting in front of the hospital on Thursday.

As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, 80 percent of Interfaith's patients are on Medicaid or some other form of public assistance.

"We need health care. This is a safety net hospital within the central Brooklyn community. We need to have a place where our people can go," state Assemblywoman Annette Robinson said.

Demonstrators Rally To Keep 'Safety Net' Interfaith Medical Center Open

Interfaith's restructuring plan to pull it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy was rejected by the state Department of Health.

Demonstrators chanted "They say cut back, we say fight back!" as they rallied for the hospital.

A nurse named Charmaine had a message for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"Just take one quick second, sir, to think about the needs of the poor and the needy," she said.

New York City Public Advocate and Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio said losing Interfaith is not an option.

"175,000 people would be farther, dangerously far from an emergency room," said de Blasio.

"The closest hospital to here is about three miles away. We will not be putting our community at risk," a community advocate said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that the city cannot, and will not, step in.

"The reality is you can't have a hospital on every corner, and that's up to the state, but that's what you see playing out all across this country," he said.

De Blasio called Bloomberg's statement "disrespectful."

The hospital said it will stop in-patient admissions on August 15, Diamond reported.

The hospital declared bankruptcy in December. It has survived for the past decade mainly on infusions of state aid, Diamond reported.

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