Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Operators of Nassau University Medical Center, which is seeking $83 million in emergency state aid, have told state officials they are struggling to find a permanent CEO and president amid financial troubles.

Officials from NuHealth, the public benefit corporation that runs the public hospital, made the disclosure late Thursday night in a 66-page transformation plan it distributed to the state Department of Health. It was the hospital's second attempt at a transformation plan.

Last month, State Health Commissioner James McDonald rejected NuHealth's first submission, calling it “insufficient.” McDonald faulted operators for not committing to a CEO search and for neglecting to produce a “detailed 5-year transformation plan.”

Executing a comprehensive search for a permanent CEO and president is a key requirement for receiving the state aid package, McDonald has said. NuHealth is running low on cash, and had $19 million on hand as of Friday, according to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state board that monitors hospital and Nassau County finances.

In their submission to the state, NuHealth chairman Matthew Bruderman and acting president and CEO Megan Ryan said NuHealth was “committed to a comprehensive external search for its next CEO.” NuHealth has retained an outside search firm, Korn Ferry of Manhattan, to search for a CEO and president, Bruderman and Ryan said.

The firm “is trying to find qualified candidates, despite the challenges of negative press surrounding the hospital and narratives of its immediate closure,” Bruderman and Ryan wrote. “The search is ongoing, we will keep you apprised.”

Richard Kessel, NIFA's chairman, expressed skepticism about the search effort.

“Certainly there is no evidence that a full nationwide search for a CEO is ongoing,” Kessel told Newsday Friday.

Ryan has been serving in the top NUMC job since January, when the board abruptly ousted Dr. Anthony Boutin as NuHealth president and CEO. Ryan, who also is NuHealth's general counsel, earns $450,000 annually, according to the state filing. Boutin earned $848,466 in 2023, according to the filing.

Bruderman and Ryan also objected to McDonald's demand that NIFA approve of new executive hires.

“We respectfully disagree that NIFA is authorized to approve [NuHealth's] new management hires and appointments,” Ryan and Bruderman wrote. “It is clearly legally impermissible for NIFA to do so.”

Kessel said he “was a little surprised by the fact that a large part of the letter had to do with NIFA and whether or not NIFA has the authority to approve certain things that the health department asked us to do. What are you afraid of?”

Kessel continued: “I would think NIFA's involvement would assure the patients and their tax dollars that there's a close eye watching the hospital. They ought to focus more on their own problems and less on whether NIFA can or can't oversee the hospital.”

Also in the report to the state, NuHealth officials described an ambitious plan over the next four years to boost revenue by $72.5 million and cut expenses by $142 million.

Administrators say they are focused on appealing insurer claim denials, reducing overtime and spending less on outside vendors.

In their submission, NuHealth officials vowed to reduce the deficit to between $18 million and $61 million in 2027, compared with a projected shortfall of $78 million to $121 million for 2024.

NuHealth officials elaborated on plans to improve patient care and safety across the health system, detailing initiatives for better hand hygiene procedures and reduced rates of sepsis and bedsores among patients.

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Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland. The conversation continues on newsday.com/nextli where we invite Long Islanders to share their experiences on this looming crisis of changing weather patterns, flooding, shoreline protection, home buyouts and more to find potential solutions for the region’s future.

Paying the Price: Long Island's stormy future Newsday Live and nextLI present a conversation with experts on the impact of powerful storms and rising insurance costs on Long Island hosted by NewsdayTV Anchor/Reporter Macy Egeland.

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