News Flash

Legislative District 02

Posted on: March 4, 2024

Democratic Legislators and Community Stakeholders Demand Overhaul, Oversight to Save NUMC

Democratic Legislators and Community Stakeholders Demand Overhaul, Oversight to Save NUMC

(MINEOLA, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislature Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Siela A. Bynoe (D – Westbury) joined with members of the Legislature’s Minority Caucus and community stakeholders on Monday, March 4 to discuss the key aspects of newly-issued State requirements for the fiscally troubled Nassau Health Care Corporation to access crucial aid, and to demand the immediate termination of board Chairman Matthew Bruderman.

Despite Bruderman’s promises of a swift turnaround upon his April 1, 2022 appointment as board President, the fiscal health of this crucial healthcare hub – a Level 1 trauma that treats over 80,000 emergency patients, handles more than 178,000 patient visits annually, and features a state-of-the-art burn center – has only worsened.

Joined by Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove), Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages (D – Valley Stream) and Legislator Debra Mulé (D – Freeport), Hempstead NAACP Branch President Barbara Powell and Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP Branch President Douglas Mayers, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe called for urgent action to address concerns that Nassau Health Care Corporation could run out of money by next month.

“We’re here today in an effort to save this hospital. It’s the cornerstone of healthcare for many who are underserved here in Nassau County, and the cornerstone for many of our firefighters,” Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe said. “We saw how important that hospital was during COVID – those healthcare professionals rose to the challenge of serving our constituents at a time when there was so much uncertainty. We must rise to the occasion in a time of uncertainty not only for our patients and our constituents, but our employees at the hospital.”

On March 1, the New York State Department of Health outlined conditions that Nassau Health Care Corporation must adhere to in order to receive an influx of state aid, including:

  • submitting a detailed five-year transformation plan to improve operations and reduce operating losses;
  • submitting monthly progress reports;
  • completing a review of the organizational structure; and
  • implementing a Quality Improvement Plan.

In addition, the state plan would require:

  • a professional, nationwide search for a new CEO;
  • oversight of all new management hires; 
  •  outside approval of contracts with an aggregate amount over $10 million; and
  • enhanced transparency in financial reporting.

Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe said that the letter shows how the State is seeking leadership accountability that Bruderman is unable to provide as chairman.

“We saw, even in the face of a deficit, they still made yet another over quarter-million-dollar patronage hire, so we have to overlook what they’re doing,” she said, later adding: “The County can’t expect that the State will intervene and be able to support them financially into the future and put good money after bad with Mr. Bruderman at the helm.”

“We knew when Mr. Bruderman came for his appointment, right from the way he answered questions, we really all felt he was not qualified and lacked the experience and desire to want to learn about the situation,” Minority Leader DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove) said. “I stand with Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe and our caucus in saying, ‘enough.’ This is way too important to our residents.”

“Recently, the Comptroller came out with a report, and the report, as I read it, was an attempt to distance the County from the mess that is NUMC - to say that it’s the state’s problem,” Legislator Mulé said. “What was not said explicitly was that the County will be on the hook and therefore the taxpayers will be on the hook for the debt that is looming in just a few weeks if the hospital fails. Let’s just remember what reality actually is.”

“So many people rely upon the services of this hospital – it is a matter of life and death that we’re talking about here,” Legislator Solages said. “This is not at all an indictment upon the hard-working nurses, janitors, workers, doctors, and administrators who work at that hospital – I took my own family member to that hospital recently, and they saved my family member’s life. They’re working very hard on a shoestring budget – they need better leadership, especially when it comes to fiscal responsibility.”

The announcement of the State plan marks the latest chapter of nearly two years of advocacy spearheaded by Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe and the Minority Caucus following Bruderman’s installation by a 13-6 vote of the Legislature.

On March 31, 2023, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe wrote to legislative colleagues to demand a hearing focused upon devising strategies for placing NUMC onto a path toward fiscal stability and solvency; she reiterated the request on June 7 of that year in light of reporting on a growing operating loss and the more than $131 million in County-guaranteed debt that the hospital would be on the hook for if Nassau Health Care Corporation shutters.

Later, on July 24, she joined a meeting called by CSEA Local 830 and members of the former NUMC Forward task force, where discussions included her proposal for restructuring Nassau Health Care Corporation’s assets by transferring the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale to the NUMC campus in East Meadow, thereby connecting A. Holly Patterson’s residents to the Hospital’s crucial clinical practices and addressing the under-utilization of NUMC’s campus.

Following the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) censure of Bruderman related to charges that he violated the trust of clients by misusing investor funds for his own personal use and failing to execute reasonable policies and procedures governing the disclosure of conflicts of interest, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe and the caucus demanded Bruderman’s immediate resignation as Chairman of the Nassau Health Care Corporation board on Monday, Oct. 23.

Ultimately, following a lack of response from the Legislative Majority and the Blakeman administration and in the face of a nearly $180 million operating deficit, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe once again demanded a public hearing to explore short- and long-term sustainability and viability plans on Dec. 18, 2023.

PHOTO CREDIT – Photo by Peter M. Budraitis

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