The chief executives of three ailing Brooklyn hospitals are finalizing a de facto merger proposal that they expect to submit to state officials as early as this week. Their plan, which calls for a “northern Brooklyn health care alliance,” could include a major restructuring, closure or repurposing of at least one of the hospitals.
Interfaith Medical Center, Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Brooklyn Hospital Center say the aim of the suggested alliance is to strengthen their bottom lines and to command higher reimbursement under federal and state Medicaid reforms.
The first two hospitals have carried large losses and crippling liabilities for years. The third, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2007, faces a major debt payment next year.
Five of Brooklyn's 10 private hospitals have financial problems. Long Island College Hospital would be No. 6—its most recent financial statement showed a $39 million loss in 2009—had it not been merged with a state institution, SUNY Downstate Medical Center's University Hospital of Brooklyn. The $62 million deal was brokered during the Paterson administration and finalized last month.
The financial instability of Brooklyn's hospitals has attracted the attention of state Department of Health officials, who have been meeting with facility executives in the past few months.