Ex-NYC councilman David Greenfield accused of undermining Maimonides hospital

Allies of Maimonides hospital are accusing former Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield — — who runs a city anti-poverty group — of being a ringleader in a bitter campaign to undermine the embattled medical facility.

The pro-Maimonides forces sent a Nov. 17 letter to Greenfield, executive director of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, identifying him as one of the leaders of the group Save Maimonides.

The group has been harshly critical of Maimonides’ leadership, and has fielded complaints about declining patient care at the private hospital in Borough Park.

The letter also was sent to Mendy Reiner, co-founder of Save Maimonides, and Eliezer Scheiner, a prominent nursing home operator.

“We write today because this misleading, mean-spirited and divisive campaign is hurting our communities,” the letter stated.

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.”

Allies of Maimonides hospital have been critical on the medical center’s leadership.
Paul Martinka

“These actions have really harmful consequences. The campaign insists that its hostility is aimed only at the Maimonides leadership, yet we hear from doctors, nurses, and other frontline staff how hurtful the attacks have been,” stated the letter signed by 30 religious, civic and business leaders.

Those signing the letter include Monsignor David Cassato of the Brooklyn Diocese; Rabbi Leib Kelman, dean of Bnos Leah Prospect Park Yeshiva;  Habib Joudeh of the Arab American Association; Dr. Mohammad Elba, imam of the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge; Rabbi Eli Greenblatt; and Javid Khan, chairman  of the Pakistani-American Merchants Association.

Hospital backers said the criticism is discouraging residents from seeking care 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, yet the vitriol it unleashes on a daily basis can only deter medical professionals from choosing to work here in our community,” the letter added.

Maimonides
A 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.”
Paul Martinka

It also blasted the drumbeat of criticism as a “grossly distorted assessment meant to disparage and undermine” Maimonides.

“Please bring this misguided effort to an end once and for all before it does lasting harm to the hospital and to our community,” the letter stated.

But Greenfield defended his criticism of Maimonides’ leadership amid the ongoing power struggle.

“I’ve literally raised millions of dollars for Maimonides and the fact that their incompetent management is paying people who live nowhere near the hospital to criticize me for privately saying that the hospital needs better management tells you why Maimonides is the worst ranked hospital in New York,” Greenfield told The Post on Sunday.

Greenfield noted some of the groups associated with the letter have gotten financial support from Maimonides. Most have not.

Scheiner also defended his role in calling for changes at Maimonides.

“Mr. Scheiner shares the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the community about the failing state of Maimonides and believes that there must be a leadership change in order for the hospital to survive,” his spokesman said.

“But as we have said repeatedly — he is not funding the Save Maimonides effort 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 true grassroots effort, has over 20,000 signatures demanding new management and thousands of complaints about horrible service and if they think paying off organizations and pitting communities against each other is going to stop us from demanding accountability from the worst rated hospital in New York they are as out of touch as they seem,” Reiner responded.

Maimonides
Greenfield defended his criticism of Maimonides’ leadership amid the ongoing power struggle.
Paul Martinka

The Post has previously reported on problems at the hospital — including its posting of a loss of $145 million last year.

The hospital’s top boss, 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 — even as the financial report obtained by The Post showed the hospital posted an overall $16 million loss for the year.

Complaints about care at the institution escalated in July, when five state lawmakers signed onto a letter calling for hearings into the hospital’s operations, citing long wait times for care and overwhelmed staff.

The battle took another twist in August when one of those lawmakers, state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), labeled the Save Maimonides group’s campaign to overhaul the hospital’s management as “not kosher.”

“It’s absolutely a smear campaign,” Felder said, whose district includes Maimonides.

Maimonides, Brooklyn’s largest private hospital, is one of the few remaining facilities not affiliated with larger hospital network. Among questions that have surfaced is whether Maimonides — considered a “safety net hospital” that serves a high percentage of Medicaid patients — can survive as a stand-alone or needs to merge with a larger health care network.