The financial challenges faced by safety net hospitals are of national concern. This is particularly true as Medicaid reimbursement rates and state aid for hospitals that serve diverse patient populations continue to fall short of what is needed. Safety net hospitals were also dealt a blow from Washington in recent days as we brace for nearly a $1 billion reduction in aid to close payment gaps for those who can’t afford medical care.
So how does this all impact Nassau University Medical Center? As Long Ilsand’s largest safety net hospital, cuts in aid from New York State have been well documented and have caused significant financial strain as we continue to serve those who lack the ability to pay for care. While it is clear that aid must be restored to ensure financial stability, it is also vital that internally we make operational improvements that help increase revenue.
For years, hospital leaders made ill-advised financial decisions like spending millions on fancy new offices with views of the Manhattan skyline. In 2022, we started changing that, pledging to improve our efficiency, standards and practices to ensure we maximize our resources.
We are in the process of augmenting our leadership team by conducting of a national search for a highly qualified Chief Financial Officer. In the interim, we’ve engaged a top-flight team of advisors with experience in the health care industry to dig in deep on every aspect of the hospital’s financials to address inefficiencies and increase revenue. This team is now on-site at NUMC and working directly with leadership to make changes that already yielding results for our patients and Nassau residents.
Over the last few months, we’ve established new processes for consistent executive reporting including more frequent monitoring of cash flow, collections and spending.
We’ve established a roadmap for addressing an estimated $77 million in additional, unresolved collections, insurance denials and payments as well as a new process to better identify outstanding bills.
We’ve established new methods of evaluating potential cost-reduction opportunities and assessing contracts for return on investment. We’re also conducting an additional audit across all departments to evaluate overpayments or incorrect payments to vendors.
These efforts might seem like common sense - and they are. The problem hasn’t been understanding the challenges at NUMC that are unique to our mission as a health care institution. It’s been the will to do the tough spade work within the organization to finally address them.
The results of these and other reforms will be a more efficient hospital for our patients and one with more resources to ensure we fulfill our mission to serve everyone in our communities.
As these and other operational improvements continue to be implemented, we will also advance on bringing online our new Cath Lab, MRI Center, Dialysis Center, renovated maternity rooms and other upgrades our patients deserve.
Nassau should be confident we are doing our part internally and getting better all the time. We certainly expect the State will then fulfill its own obligations to NUMC’s growing patient population.
Matthew Bruderan is the chairman of the Nassau University Medical Center.