By any measure, the last few years have been marked by solid financial results and expansive growth for NuHealth. We demonstrably improved the quality of care we provide our patients, as measured by numerous awards and citations. We strengthened our academic standing and our ability to attract the best physicians and staff. We made significant progress in modernizing our facilities and laying the groundwork for substantial real estate development now and into the future. We extended our ongoing alliance with the North Shore-LIJ Health System. And as we celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2010, we move forward with a new name—and with it, a commitment to deliver great essential health care to everyone, at every stage of life.
I’m proud to report that, for the first time since its creation in 1999 as a public benefit corporation, NuHealth ended the year 2009 in the black with a surplus of $804,000. The ongoing sustaining initiatives that we’ve implemented over the past decade have improved our bottom line to provide financial stability, demonstrating that our strategic plan—which includes investments designed to modernize our facilities and improve the quality of care we provide our patients—have produced positive results.
NuHealth’s four-year modernization plan, funded in part with $93.9 million from the Nassau County Tobacco Securitization Program and New York State HEAL grants, has helped with a number of major construction projects. These include a new emergency department, A. Holly Patterson nursing home, health centers in Roosevelt and Hempstead, and a veteran’s outpatient center, as well as renovations at the Nassau University Medical Center.
Changing our name to NuHealth was much more than just a matter of cosmetics. It sends a signal that we’re making significant changes to our system, at a time when the landscape of health care is changing dramatically in the United States. To that effect, NuHealth is in the midst of a successful turnaround that began four years ago. This turnaround is being fueled by a number of factors, among them funding that previously was not available, our aforementioned carefully constructed and well-executed strategic plan, and leadership across the board that believes in the system and what it can become.
As a public institution, NuHealth faces a number of challenges that are not shared by many other health care providers. In particular, the demographics of the local community we serve in Nassau County mandate their own set of challenges. More than half of our patients are on Medicaid, and there’s a preponderance of such afflictions as obesity, diabetes and other diseases associated with lower-income communities. Combine this with the challenges we face due to an evolving health care scenario on both the national and local level, and it’s clear that the time for change had come.
Given this scenario, NuHealth is working hard to keep in step with—and in some cases, set the pace for—the changing paradigm of health care. One of the ways we’re doing that is by developing a truly integrated system that eliminates redundancy and isolated pieces of information. A concerted effort to improve communications among departments, streamline our operations and migrate to electronic medical records is helping to improve efficiency and maximize profits. In addition, we continue to build and extend coordinated care networks that reach out to the community, include participating physicians outside of NuHealth, and help to provide better care to our patients throughout every stage of their lives. This truly is a new way of doing things. Hence our tagline: NuHealth—Together through life.
Together With North Shore-LIJ
NuHealth’s clinical integration with the North Shore-LIJ Health System is a good example of this philosophy in action. Begun several years ago, this is a partnership that continues to flourish and expand its boundaries by integrating quality standards and establishing shared best practices. Much of the health care that NuHealth provides is of the “bread and butter” variety. But in cases where highly specialized medical disciplines that are not among our resident capabilities are required, we can turn to North Shore-LIJ to supplement our services and provide a true continuity of care.
Numerous examples underscore this integration in action. In conjunction with North Shore-LIJ, we’ve upgraded our cardiology capabilities to include defibrillator therapy and improvements to our heart failure services. We now have a new full-time neurosurgeon on staff, contracted through North Shore-LIJ. We’re in the process of jointly hiring a new pediatric cardiologist who will split time between both health systems to provide care for high-risk pregnancies that involve fetuses with heart problems. We’re also integrating our pathology services, searching for a new department chairperson and building a blood bank service. And in anesthesiology, we’re contracting with an independent group that also works with the North Shore-LIJ health system. All of these efforts merely mark the latest steps in building on a strong foundation of partnership and integration, raising the bar for NuHealth in particular and health care in general.
In closing, we’re excited about our prospects moving forward; the narrative of this report goes into more detail in describing the many steps we’re taking to effect positive change. In the end, health care is all about people, and we’re fortunate to have many outstanding physicians, nurses and staff members who are helping to shape the contours of NuHealth. On their behalf, I want to thank the state and local governments, along with our many generous donors, for their continued support. And I want to renew our pledge to our patients and community: simply put, we believe everyone has the right to great health care. And we intend to provide it.
President and Chief Executive Officer, NuHealth