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George Tsunis, NuHealth board chief, is running NUMC on a temporary basis

George Tsunis, center, is running Nassau University Medical

George Tsunis, center, is running Nassau University Medical Center temporarily. Credit: Danielle Silverman

George Tsunis, chairman of the public benefit corporation that runs Nassau University Medical Center, is acting as its president and chief executive while state officials review a deal for Northwell Health to build a senior leadership team for the East Meadow hospital.

Officials in November announced that Northwell would provide top executives at NUMC to help steer the public hospital out of its long-standing fiscal and management woes.

Winnie Mack, Northwell's senior vice president of health system operations, is to serve as acting president and chief executive officer.

“It is temporary," Tsunis said about pulling double duty, for which he is uncompensated. "We expect Winnie to be coming on in the next couple of weeks, and I am looking forward to her start date more than anyone."

Tsunis became acting chairman and chief executive at NUMC late last year after Dr. Paul Pipia returned to practicing medicine full time as an attending physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Tsunis said he became acting president and chief executive under hospital bylaws.

“I am tasked with both the responsibilities, and that is acceptable, in a short period of time, because there is no other choice," he said. "But I am looking forward to when Winnie starts, and I can get back to just being a regular old chairman." 

He said NUMC's interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Boutin is assigned to make, "all of the clinical decisions . . . and I focus on making the business decisions."

Terry Lynam, a Northwell spokesman, said officials are awaiting state approvals for items including an employment services agreement and authorization to devise a five-year strategic plan. 

Erin Silk, a state Health Department spokeswoman, said, "There are various management agreements that are subject to state approval and are currently under review." 

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat, appointed Tsunis as NuHealth board chairman in February 2018. Tsunis, a prominent fundraiser and hotelier, also serves as chairman of The Battery Park City Authority.

Tsunis said Donald Ashkenase, hired as NUMC's $240,000-a-year chief operating officer, is no longer with the hospital. Ashkenase is a longtime former hospital executive and serves on the Great Neck school board.

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