Ambulances are back to transporting patients to Interfaith Medical Center after they were diverted for several hours Friday, but questions remain about the financially struggling facility's leadership. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.
Interfaith Medical Center in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn narrowly survived being closed in December, when it was running an estimated $100 million in the red, and the state gave it money to operate until March.
But early Friday afternoon, CEO Patrick Sullivan ordered that ambulances be diverted from the emergency room because of what he called a lack of funding from the state.
The funds were held up due to a disagreement with the state dormitory authority about transferring clinics to another hospital.
The decision to stop emergency service sparked an angry response from the facility's employees, who told NY1 that they took matters into their own hands.
"Literally, there was a revolt on the campus of Interfaith Hospital, and by the time I arrived, the CEO had been removed, and there was a very jubilant kind of, it was akin to what you watch on TV in foreign press about the overthrow of government, almost." Cornegy said.
Interfaith officials say that the CEO did not step down, but that he was already scheduled to leave at the end of the month.
What is not in dispute is that the chief medical officer quickly stepped in and reversed the ambulance diversion.
Employees and advocates say either way, this gives hope to about 1,500 doctors and staff, and a full house of patients.
"If we're at 104 percent capacity right now here at the hospital, and if the emergency room has been overflowing all week, that means that the other hospitals must be filled to capacity, because this is not necessarily the first choice for EMS to come to," said Sharonnie Perry, a member of the community advisory board. "So it goes to show that health care is needed in central Brooklyn."
The state Health Department says it is closely monitoring activities at the hospital to be sure that the health and safety needs of residents continue to be met.