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NUMC cost purge reaches $2.34 million

Nassau University Medical Center is seen on

Nassau University Medical Center is seen on November 14, 2011. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

An additional $674,000 in salary and contract spending was eliminated Wednesday at the Nassau University Medical Center, bringing the two-day purge of costs deemed unnecessary for hospital operations to more than $2.34 million.

At the direction of the hospital’s board chairman, George Tsunis, NUMC president Victor Politi dismissed two highly paid appointees who had worked for former County Executive Edward Mangano.

Politi also will not renew a $250,000 annual contract for a Mineola marketing firm and a $5,000-a-month retainer with a Great Neck public relations company — though a partner said his company was not seeking a renewal.

Tsunis, chairman of the Nassau Health Care Corp., or NuHealth, which runs the East Meadow hospital and associated facilities, said the jobs and contracts were not needed and will not be replaced.

“This is in furtherance of the ongoing work of right-sizing the administration and bureaucracy, eliminating any unnecessary expenses and prioritizing spending on items that directly impact the quality of care for Nassau residents,” Tsunis said.

“I think we’re sending a loud and clear message: ‘Game Over.’ ”

Tsunis was appointed NuHealth board chairman three weeks ago by County Executive Laura Curran, a Democrat who replaced Republican Mangano in January. During her campaign, Curran complained about patronage hiring at NUMC and its lack of transparency in dealing with the public.

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Curran said Tsunis, “has my full support in his efforts to bring order back to NUMC. His plan to hire more nurses and other health care professionals is evidence that health care is once again the first goal at NUMC, not patronage and waste.”

Politi terminated the job and salary of Ann Marie Studdert, director of Intergovernmental affairs, paid $165,000 annually. Studdert had moved with Mangano from the law firm of Rivkin Radler to the county when he became county executive in 2010. Studdert had been Mangano’s $69,732-a-year secretary and administrative assistant until given the NUMC job in 2014.

Politi also terminated the job and salary of Frank Intagliata, director of purchasing, who earned $199,000. Intagliata had worked for the county since 1994 and was the $130,367-a-year commissioner of shared services when he left in January 2016 to work for the hospital. Intagliata had been a longtime contributor to Nassau Republicans and gave $4,000 to the Hicksville Republican Committee in 2012, state records show.

Tsunis said he is working with the county and state to open up NuHealth’s procurement policies and put requests for proposals and other purchasing information online to improve public notice and transparency.

He already said he has directed that the hospital respond to Freedom of Information requests as soon as possible.

NuHealth also will not renew the contract for Didit, of Mineola, for social media work for NuHealth. Tsunis said the contract expires March 1.

Tsunis also said NuHealth will terminate on Feb. 28 a $60,000-a-year agreement with Zimmerman/Edelson Inc. of Great Neck. Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman is a co-founder of the public relations firm.

“I don’t have a contract after February nor was I pursuing one,” Zimmerman said. “Some of the board members spoke to me about continuing, but that was not something that I was pursuing.”

He said the hospital hired his firm last summer to deal with media issues regarding jail health care and then asked it to stay on through February because the hospital communications director retired. “The moral of this story is no kind deed goes unpunished,” Zimmerman said.

Neither Studdert nor Intagliata could be reached for comment. An official for Didit declined to comment.

On Tuesday, Politi eliminated nine appointee jobs, freeing $1.67 million in salaries that Tsunis said will go to hire 37 Civil Service clinicians, including nurses and medical technicians.

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