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State Steps In To Keep Brooklyn's Interfaith Medical Center Open

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Days after an announcement that Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn would be closing, New York State gave the hospital a reprieve by committing to funding until March of next year.

As WCBS 880's Monica Miller reported Monday night, the state agreed to fund the hospital in Bedford-Stuyvesant through March 7, according to a news release. In the meantime, state and local officials, community groups and unions have been working to secure permanent federal funding to keep the hospital open.

State Steps In To Keep Brooklyn's Interfaith Medical Center Open

The hospital is now in bankruptcy proceedings.

On Friday, a hospital representative said in multiple published reports that a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge was expected to issue an order Monday announcing that the hospital was closing.

Mediation between hospital officials and creditors, unions and other parties began in November in an attempt to prevent the hospital from closing, according to published reports. But the mediation ended on Friday without any resolution, published reports said.

Kevin Finnegan, director for the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 Healthcare Workers East, expressed gratitude that the state stepped in.

"We're pleased by Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's action today, and look forward to working with the state, our partners at (New York State Nurses' Association), and all stakeholders to secure federal funding for a long-term plan to keep Interfaith open for care," Finnegan said in the release.

Nurses' union executive director Jill Furillo called the state's action "a victory for the 175,000 Brooklyn patients that depend on Interfaith for care."

The unions said if Interfaith closed, central Brooklyn residents would have even more difficulty getting care in a neighborhood that already has an infant mortality rate twice the citywide average.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has been a proponent of keeping hospitals – including Interfaith – open to serve patients in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.

He said he is grateful to Cuomo, and wants to create a Brooklyn Health Authority to protect community health care across the entire borough.

Interfaith Medical Center has survived for the past decade mainly on infusions of state aid.

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