Maimonides Hospital allies are accusing former Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield, who heads a city anti-poverty group, of being a ringleader in a bitter campaign to undermine the embattled medical facility.
Pro-Maimonides forces sent a letter to Greenfield, executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, on November 17, identifying him as one of the leaders of the Save Maimonides group.
The group has sharply criticized Maimonides’ leadership and lodged grievances about declining patient care at Borough Park Private Hospital.
The letter was also sent to Mendy Reiner, co-founder of Save Maimonides, and Eliezer Scheiner, a well-known nursing home operator.
“We are writing today because this misleading, mean and divisive campaign is harming our communities,” the letter reads.
The letter claims the group’s campaign against Maimonides “reads like a laundry list of tactics one would use to destroy a political opponent, not improve a hospital.”
“These actions have really harmful consequences. The campaign insists its hostility is directed only at the Maimonides leadership, but we are hearing from doctors, nurses and other frontline workers how hurtful the attacks have been,” the statement, composed of 30 religious, civic and business leaders, said signed letter.
The letter’s signatories include Monsignor David Cassato of the Diocese of Brooklyn; Rabbi Leib Kelman, Dean of the Bnos Leah Prospect Park Yeshiva; Habib Joudeh of the Arab American Association; dr Mohammad Elba, Imam of the Bay Ridge Islamic Society; Rabbi Eli Greenblatt; and Javid Khan, Chairman of the Pakistani-American Merchants Association.
Supporters of the hospital said the criticism discouraged residents from seeking treatment at Maimonides, which they claim is “without a doubt the place statistically most likely to save their lives”.
“The campaign says it wants to improve access to care, but the vitriol it releases every day can only deter medical professionals from working here in our community,” the letter added.
It also banged the drum of criticism as “a grossly distorted assessment intended to belittle and undermine Maimonides”.
“Please end these misguided efforts once and for all before they cause lasting harm to the hospital and our community,” the letter reads.
But Greenfield defended his criticism of Maimonides’ leadership amid the ongoing power struggle.
“I’ve raised literally millions of dollars for Maimonides and the fact that their incompetent management is paying people who don’t live near the hospital to criticize me for privately saying the hospital needs better management says it.” You why Maimonides is the lowest ranked hospital in New York,” Greenfield told the Post on Sunday.
Greenfield noted that some of the groups associated with the letter received financial support from Maimonides. Most don’t have it.
Scheiner also defended his role in calling for changes in Maimonides.
“Mr. Scheiner shares the overwhelming majority of the community’s concern at the failing state of Maimonides and believes that there must be a change in leadership for the hospital to survive,” his spokesman said.
“But as we have said repeatedly – he is not funding Save Maimonides’ efforts and these George Soros-like conspiracy theories are frankly offensive.”
In July, Crain’s New York identified Scheiner as involved in the Save Maimonides group and the power struggle at the hospital.
“Save Maimonides is a real grassroots effort, has over 20,000 signatures calling for new management and thousands of complaints about horrible service, and if they think they’re paying organizations and playing communities against each other, that’s going to keep us from being accountable for the worst.” rated hospital in New York, they’re as aloof as it seems,” Reiner replied.
The Post has previously reported on troubles at the hospital – including posting a $145 million loss last year.
The hospital’s top executive, CEO Kenneth Gibbs, saw his compensation nearly double in just one year, from $1.8 million to $3.2 million in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic — although The A financial report obtained by Post showed that the hospital had an overall loss of $16 million for the year.
Complaints about care at the facility escalated in July when five state lawmakers signed a letter calling for hearings on hospital operations, citing long waits for care and overwhelmed staff.
The fight took another turn in August when one of those lawmakers, Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), called the Save Maimonides group’s campaign to overhaul hospital management “non-kosher.”
“This is a pure smear campaign,” said Felder, whose district also includes Maimonides.
Maimonides, Brooklyn’s largest private hospital, is one of the few remaining facilities not connected to a larger hospital network. Among the questions that have surfaced is whether Maimonides — which is considered a “safety-net hospital” that serves a high percentage of Medicaid patients — can survive as a standalone hospital or need to merge with a larger healthcare network.