Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.

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

Daily Point

Views on NUMC

After Nassau University Medical Center officials penned a letter seeking $125 million from the state this month, local lawmakers began to weigh in — and their takes already illustrate a bit of a divide in perspective on the hospital, and who’s to blame for its troubles.

Assemb. Taylor Darling told The Point that when her nine-year-old daughter had an ear infection, she “went undercover,” without telling anyone who she was, and headed to Nassau University Medical Center. There, Darling said, her daughter received the “best care from the best doctors” — and NUMC billed her appropriately afterward.

Now, Darling said she’s using that experience to emphasize the “amazing things” NUMC is doing — and to explain why she supports the hospital’s $125 million request for state funding.

“I support them in their request for whatever they feel they’re going to need to be successful,” Darling told The Point. “If this is what they say they need, that’s a good place to start.”

But Darling has another tie to the hospital. Darling, who is running for State Senate to fill the seat being vacated by current State Sen. Kevin Thomas, received $5,000 as a campaign contribution from Matthew Bruderman, who chairs the board of directors that oversees NUMC, in December.

But she said that had nothing to do with her position on the hospital’s request.

“My support of the hospital has been on record for years,” she said. “He just has identified that I am an action figure and I get things done … He wants to make sure he has strong partners in the state to ensure the hospital gets what it needs from the state and has an open line of communication with leaders in the state.”

NUMC, she said, has had management issues and business model difficulties — but that, she said, is “a moment of the past.”

Thomas, however, told The Point that NUMC’s administration is “spending more than they should be spending.” He noted that while NUMC suggested it could be in trouble in 90 days, others with knowledge of the hospital’s finances have suggested NUMC could run out of cash within 30 days.

“I’m not happy with the situation,” said Thomas who is in the running for the Democratic nod in CD4. “I’m going to push in the budget to help these safety net hospitals around the state — not just NUMC. But my thinking is if we do inject more money, it’s got to come with certain checks.”

That could mean putting new people on the board, changing management, or adding other requirements or standards, Thomas said.

“There needs to be a plan here,” Thomas said. “We can’t just hand them over a blank check.”

And Thomas said the state shouldn’t handle the NUMC crisis on its own.

“The town and the county have a lot of COVID cash. If they came together, and contributed with the state, they could make a real difference as well,” Thomas said.

— Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

The choices

Credit: Monte Wolverton, BATTLE GROUND, WA

For more cartoons, visit

Reference Point

Nothing modest about this proposal

An editorial that appeared on Feb. 23, 1956.

An editorial that appeared on Feb. 23, 1956. Credit: Newsday Archive

It was a newspaper lead for the ages.

“There is plenty wrong in New York State — and in Nassau and Suffolk Counties particularly,” wrote Newsday’s editorial board.

Even knowing the topic — political corruption — would scarcely help pin down the date of Newsday’s missive, such has been the issue’s pervasiveness on Long Island.

The editorial appeared on Feb. 23, 1956, with specifics relevant to the time.

“Democratic State Investigation Commissioner J. Irwin Shapiro has peeled away a thin layer of Suffolk’s government and exposed its rotten underpinnings. In Nassau, civil service needs radical reforming. So it goes all over the state,” the board wrote. “Now the Republican-controlled state legislature has answered the Democrats’ charges by voting $250,000 for a watchdog committee to conduct investigations, especially in Democratic districts.”

While Newsday’s board recognized the controversy as the latest of many such messes, the nearly 70-year-old imbroglio had the feel of a very modern partisan tit-for-tat.

“The state is in for a long series of politically-inspired inquiries. Each party is trying to find corruption and stupidity in the other’s territory,” the board wrote. “It is an old political game: when your opponent gets something on you, get something on him.

“The name-calling and in-fighting will do the state — or our two counties — little good. A cloud of dust is likely to blow up from the battleground, but when it settles, nothing will have changed.”

The editorial board dramatized the situation with a cartoon featuring a burning “NEW YORK” building, a worried J.Q. VOTER, and two firefighters with helmets labeled “DEM” and “GOP” trying to hook up their “INVESTIGATIONS” hoses to the same hydrant. The caption read: ‘But the House is Burning Down.’

Newsday’s board argued for an impartial ongoing investigation of government practices, observing that “neither party can do the job forthrightly or without getting mired down in politics.”

Hence the title of the piece: “A Modest Proposal,” which the board said “could bring a better, cleaner, more efficient government for New York state.” Despite the title’s allusion to Jonathan Swift’s famous satirical masterpiece, the board was pitching a genuinely straightforward plan.

The gist of the proposal was to get politics out of such investigations via a citizens commission “picked along unassailable, non-partisan lines.” The idea was to make the commission non-partisan, not bipartisan — though the board did not offer a way to do that other than to name as chairman the retired Judge Learned Hand, the 84-year-old highly regarded former head of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Needless to say, there never was a Hand Commission, as Newsday’s board imagined it. Nor did an endless procession of state-created investigative bodies stem the tide of official corruption or slake the partisan thirst for finding scandal in the opposition.

Turns out there was nothing modest — satirical or otherwise — about the board’s proposal, except its hope that something positive would result.

— Michael Dobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells

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