BROOKLYN - With the economy in a steep decline, the success of a community hospital with clinics in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant has stood out.

Interfaith Medical Center, whose main building is on 1545 Atlantic Ave., has 1,600 employees and no layoffs in the past three years.

Officials with the nonprofit hospital say they are avoiding layoffs by keeping only essential programs, rewarding hard work and making sure their patients are satisfied with their care.

"We know that people use the hospital as their primary care, but we want to make sure that once they do leave they say to others, 'You should stay at Interfaith,' " says Venra P. Mathurin, the medical center's vice president of human resources.