Hospital leaders, elected officials, rally for Nassau University Medical Center

State aid crucial for hospital’s survival


For decades, the Nassau University Medical Center has existed and thrived as a crucial centerpiece in the county’s health care system. 

The state slashed aid to NUMC from nearly $190 million in 2017 to $65 million in 2023. A continued reduction in aid will prevent it from fulfilling its obligations to the people it serves, within a matter of months, hospital leadership said.

Aside from being Nassau’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, the hospital also boasts a burn center, a hyperbaric chamber, robotic surgery equipment, and so much more. But perhaps most importantly, the public medical center is best known for providing high-quality health care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

NUMC serves more than 270,000 patients annually, and more than 70 percent are minorities while 80 percent of the health care network’s patients are on Medicaid or Medicare.

On Long Island, pressure for the state to supply funding to the hospital is a bipartisan effort. NUMC’s Interim President and Chief Executive Meg Ryan was joined in Albany by State Senator Kevin Thomas and Assemblywoman Taylor Darling, both democrats, and State Senators Steve Rhoads and Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick and Assemblyman John Mikulin, all republicans. These state officials represent thousands of the hospital’s client-base within their Nassau County districts.

“Nassau University Medical Center serves as a lifeline for countless individuals and families, offering essential medical care regardless of one’s ability to pay,” Thomas said. “It is a beacon of hope — people rely on it as their primary source of health care.

Darling quoted  Martin Luther King Jr. at the rally, saying “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

“The clock is ticking on a very short window to save Nassau University Medical Center,” Darling said. “The only thing that can immediately necessitate this hospital shutdown is state aid. Now is the time for the state to step in to prevent this from happening,”

Darling said she and colleagues in government have put pressure on both Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Department of Health Commissioner James McDonald, asking them to establish a budget line that will provide the hospital with what it needs in order to continue providing life saving services to the community.

“Since 2019, Nassau University Medical Center has lost $326 million in funding from the state of New York,” Rhoads said. “New York state must step in to fix this problem.”

Rhoads said they are asking that direct funding for the hospital ends up in the state budget, “to make sure that the safety net hospital continues to serve its mission, by serving the people of Nassau County, regardless of their ability to pay.”

“Listen to the needs of the residents of Nassau County,” he added, “and the 3,600 heroes that these people here represent, who simply want to provide quality medical care to people in Nassau County.”

And it’s not just NUMC that needs money — public hospitals in Brooklyn and upstate New York are facing similar challenges amid funding cuts.

Ryan said the health care network’s staff has always shown remarkable resilience and commitment to providing the highest quality of care to all of its patients.

“While our staff continues to go above and beyond, it’s crucial that we address the pressing issue of funding for public hospitals, in particular NUMC,” she said. “The strain on resources has been immense and without adequate support, our ability to deliver essential services our county and state needs will be severely compromised.”

NuHealth, the organization that oversees NUMC, also operates the A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility in Uniondale. Additionally, the health care network provides care to inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Center, which is located just behind the hospital on Carman Avenue in East Meadow.

While elected officials and hospital leadership are pressuring the state for funding, East Meadow organizations agree that the hospital is vital to the community and surrounding areas.

At a March 20 Council of East Meadow Community Organizations meeting, the threats to the hospital’s survival were a subject of discussion. Joe Parisi, CEMCO’s president, said what the hospital offers to all of Nassau County is extremely important, citing its care facilities that have continued to flourish amid budget cuts.

Parisi read a letter, shared with CEMCO by Nassau County fire departments, explaining why first responders are arguing against NUMC’s closure.

“In recent years, we have watched in dismay as New York state aid to Nassau University Medical Center has been cut in the amounts of hundreds of millions of dollar — causing an unsustainable debt to accumulate,” Parisi read.

The letter cites that for years, most of the news surrounding NUMC’s survival has been plagued by accusations of hospital mismanagement and political differences.

“We call on you all to immediately end internal side bickering, and restore the proper funding that NUMC needs to operate effectively,” the fire departments wrote.

Matthew Bruderman, NUMC’s chairman, led an “employee town hall” earlier this month, where he expressed frustration over the lack of state aid as well. In response, Hochul’s office released a statement saying the governor “remains fully committed to health care accessibility for the all,” but “the state cannot give bailout using taxpayers’ dollars without ensuring structural reforms.”

On the hospital’s website, there’s an outline of its financial stability plan under the tab Nassau Needs NUMC. There, residents can learn more about the hospital’s finances, and what it needs to continue thriving. To support the hospital and send an email to Albany, visit