Interfaith Medical Center, 1545 Atlantic Avenue, will join Central Brooklyn’s Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center into a single healthcare system.
The move, which was discussed last night and an Interfaith emergency meeting, is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed plan to help save the ailing Brooklyn healthcare system by cutting costs and increasing revenue.
The consolidation comes following a Northwell Health Ventures study that found these hospitals are projected to cost the state a combined $1.7 billion dollars through the year 2021.
“Recognizing that there is a lack of access to physicians and primary care services throughout the community, these parts of the community were described as healthcare deserts,” said Northwell Executive Vice President Jeff Kraut. “Not only could you not find a physician, but sometimes there couldn’t be pharmacies or other access to services here. The needs for the hospitals is not only to provide good clinical care, but for all of them to remain as a community hospital that were founded on meeting the social needs of a community.”
The study results were released late last year and proposed specific recommendations for restructuring and consolidating the hospitals into one healthcare network. The recommendations include: establish an independent, unified, mirror board governance structure over all the hospitals, appoint systemwide management and clinical leadership, and develop a shared services infrastructure, develop a large, geographically dispersed ambulatory care network, regionalize clinical programs and restructure inpatient services among the hospital campuses, create a safe environment in which to provide care, create an enterprise-wide information technology platform, develop a managed care contracting entity.
The ambulatory care network is a significant component in the plan which is will add 36 primary and ambulatory care units in order to decrease the amount of unnecessary emergency room visits, according to the Daily News.
The state set out funds back in 2015 in the form of $700 million as part of the Kings County Health Care Facility Transformation Program, “to help transform the delivery and of health care services as part of a merger, consolidation, acquisition or other significant corporate restructuring to create a more financially sustainable system of care,” according to the report. Of that $700 million dollars set aside for the transformation, Interfaith is receiving a budget of $160 million.
City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) said the merger is an opportunity to realize the potential of not only Interfaith, but the entire network to be an economic development driver for the communities that the new healthcare network operates in.
“There are hundreds of millions of dollars done at Interfaith on contracts and [this merger] is making sure that those contracts are part of the life blood of the community that the hospital caters to. So I see the implementation of the network as a possibility to go almost to a billion dollars in contracts in those communities. Where health institutions work best is where they are integrated in the community as economic drivers. I don’t want to miss an opportunity for these communities to be part of an economic boom,” said Cornegy.
The proposed plan is expected to save the state $117 million dollars by 2021. So far, Brookdale and Interfaith hospitals have held their emergency meetings on the proposed plan. The plan is expected to be finalized by the end of the year with the project taking several years to complete.
“Now we’re here and have an opportunity to get something done. This is a collaborative effort this is something that people have done in other parts of the country and so therefore, we have an opportunity to do something great to revitalize the healthcare system within the central Brooklyn community and working in partnership with others,” said FormerAssemblymember and Democratic District Leader Annette Robinson. “I think this could be something good for us. We have to strike while the iron is hot because we don’t know what healthcare is going to look like nationally but we do have money being allocated from the state of New York.
On February 22, the Request For Proposal (RFP) will be released which will outline the exact plan for the project.