Northwell Health awarded grant to explore Brooklyn hospital overhaul plan

Great Neck, N.Y.-based Northwell Health has been awarded a grant to prepare a feasibility and sustainability study that could result in a rescue plan for Brooklyn's distressed community hospitals.

Four of Brooklyn's hospitals are on the state's financial distress watch list. These hospitals, along with many others in Brooklyn, are undesirable from the view of would-be acquirers. The state reserved about $700 million to overhaul the healthcare delivery system in Brooklyn, but big hospital networks are hesitant to sacrifice their bottom lines to save the distressed facilities.

Northwell Health is interested in expanding its presence in Brooklyn, and the system and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration have been in talks about a rescue plan for some of the hospitals there.

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Health announced Northwell has been awarded a grant to prepare the feasibility and sustainability study that will identify ways to improve the quality of healthcare in central and northeastern Brooklyn.

The study will look at potential management or partnership agreements with Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and Wycoff Heights Medical Center. According to the New York State Department of Health, these five hospitals are in communities with higher-than-average rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The study is expected to be submitted over the next three to four months.

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