Nassau Health Care Corporation, which runs Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, is behind on paying $62.6 million in health care premiums for its employees and retirees, according to Chairman George Tsunis.
Tsunis was appointed by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Feb. 1 followed former chairman Michael Mirotznik’s unexpected resignation. Following his appointment, he said he reviewed the hospital’s finances to discover that it faces “significant unpaid healthcare premiums.”
After notifying the New York State Government, administrators immediately developed a plan to start paying off its debt, which is owed in monthly installments of $6.6 million.
“In no way, shape or form was patient care adversely impacted, nor will it be as we satisfy the outstanding balance,” Tsunis said, adding, “This will not impact our employees’ and their access to healthcare.” There are 4,300 workers and retirees in the hospital’s system who are currently still insured.
The disclosure of the late health care premiums coincides with the recent firing of former President Victor Politi. In August 2017, Curran criticized the board for renewing his contract, worth $368,000 annually, through the end of 2019. She also accused the board of hiring a number of employees because of their political ties.
When Curran appointed Tsunis, she told the Herald that he could help “right the ship” and alleviate the problems that the board has previously faced.
On April 18, Victor Politi was fired from his position of president and Chief Executive Officer of the hospital. The move took place following a three-hour board of directors meeting, from which Politi was barred, according to his attorney Ronald Rosenberg.
At the time, Politi was under the impression that he would be transferred to another department at the hospital. He had no prior knowledge of his upcoming termination. Rosenberg called it “a violation of due process and common standards of decency and fairness.”
Officials initially denied comment on the nature of Politi’s firing and whether he would be getting severance. However, it was recently confirmed that he was fired with cause and given a $215,000 severance package.
The board has enacted some policies to defer health care costs, including a change that union workers agreed to in 2013. Under previous policy, nonunion employees received free health care if they worked for five years and retired at 55 or older. Now, they must have worked in system for 20 years.