NUMC docs vote to appeal for keeping Gianelli

NuHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Arthur Gianelli

NuHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Arthur Gianelli talking to the media at a press conference to start a campaign to help uninsured people at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. (Oct. 2, 2013). Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Doctors at Nassau University Medical Center have voted overwhelmingly to ask its board of directors to retain CEO Arthur Gianelli, who was asked to resign, according to the hospital's top physician.

In a meeting Thursday of about 90 doctors, 80 percent voted to ask the board of directors "to ask them to keep Art as CEO for the indefinite future," said the chief medical officer, Dr. Steven Walerstein, who was at the meeting.

Gianelli, chief executive of Nassau Health Care Corp., a public benefit corporation that runs NUMC, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility and five clinics that serve the poor, abruptly announced his resignation Nov. 8. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has since said that Gianelli, appointed to the post by then-County Executive Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, in 2006, was asked to resign so the county could search for new leadership.

Walerstein said the meeting "focused on the impact of Art's leaving on patient care, on quality of care and the trajectory of the institution."

"There was unanimity that things are going in the right direction, there is confidence in the strategic plan and that, given all the changes in health care, this is a time for stability rather than changes," he said.

Walerstein said it was not decided whether the appeal would be made through a face-to-face meeting or by letter. The meeting was called by the medical staff, not by the administration, and Gianelli was not present, Walerstein said.

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Another doctor who was at the meeting but asked not to be named concurred with Walerstein's description.

Two board members said they welcome the medical staff's request.

"I wholeheartedly support any efforts by the medical staff to retain Art Gianelli," said board member Greg Martello. "I would invite them to make their request and I would be a board member that would be very receptive to that."


Board member Dr. George Miner concurred. "I think Art's leadership is responsible for driving the improvements financially and in terms of quality, education and infrastructure, and I was very, very disappointed that the board would let him go," said Miner, who said he was not at the meeting in which Gianelli's resignation was presented.

The head of the board of directors, Craig Rizzo, could not be reached. Gianelli declined to comment. Mangano was unavailable for comment, a spokesman said.

Gianelli, who said he will be on the job for at least three more months, has been credited with strengthening the still financially vulnerable Nassau Health Care Corp., known as NuHealth. Last month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a closer collaboration between NuHealth and North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System that allows NuHealth to negotiate alongside North Shore-LIJ with commercial insurance companies.

Mangano said the board would launch a nationwide search to replace Gianelli, who was free to apply for the job.

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