Long Island philanthropist Sandra Atlas Bass was honored on Northwell Health’s Manhasset campus on Wednesday in a program highlighting decades of donations to the health care system, totaling more than $93 million.
She was applauded by Northwell employees during a ceremony marking the formal dedication of the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, which opened earlier this year.
“Giving is an opportunity to directly change people’s lives,” said Bass, who lives in Great Neck and is a member in a family of billionaires. She says she has devoted her life to helping people — and animals — become healthier and happier.
Bass is a Northwell lifetime trustee, and hospital executives Wednesday announced three recent gifts from her that amount to $40 million, which, when added to earlier donations, push her lifetime total to more than $93 million.
“Sandra Atlas Bass has been a tremendous partner of Northwell Health for more than two decades,” Michael Dowling, the health system’s president and chief executive said in a statement Wednesday.
Brian Lally, chief development officer for Northwell Health, said sustained giving has made the Bass name synonymous with Northwell.
“Sandy has been a very loyal supporter for a very long time and the first gift she made was to the cardiology program,” Lally said, referring to a donation more than 25 years ago that established the Arrhythmia Pacemaker Center at North Shore University Hospital.
Bass also funded the Sandra Atlas Bass Cardiology Centers at both North Shore and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
“The event today was a celebration of Sandy,” Lally said.
Financial support from Bass also aided the purchase of a 640-slice CT scanner. The machine can capture an image of the entire heart in less than one-third of a second, experts say.
Aside from donations to advance cardiac care, Bass has contributed more than $12 million to Long Island Jewish Medical Center’s Hearing and Speech Center in Lake Success. It is to be renamed the Sandra Atlas Bass Otolaryngology Center, Northwell officials said.
Another center on the Manhasset campus aimed at treating liver diseases is already named in her honor.
Bass is in a rarefied class of Long Island donors capable of giving millions of dollars to advance health care and medical research. Bed Bath & Beyond co-founder Leonard Feinstein and his wife, Susan, donated $25 million in February to the research center on Northwell’s Manhasset campus bearing their name. Like Bass, their most recent gift added to donations made in the past.
The Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital opened about six months ago. Doctors there plan to perform heart transplants, having been approved earlier this month by the State Health Department to perform the surgeries.
Additionally, the hospital is expected to become a world-class center for left-ventricular device — LVAD — procedures, doctors say.
An LVAD is a mechanical pump implanted in a patient’s chest cavity and connected to the heart to aid the ailing organ’s ability to move blood throughout the circulatory system.
Though not a true artificial heart, LVADs are widely known as a “bridge to transplant,” a temporary device that effectively pumps blood until a donor heart is found. They are also known as “destination therapy,” for terminally ill heart patients who are too old, or too sick for a transplant.