Nassau University Medical Center Behind on Administering Covid-19 Vaccine, State Says

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Nassau University Medical Center (NUMC) has administered 19 percent of its allocated Covid-19 vaccines, the third-lowest in vaccine usage of all hospitals in the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his coronavirus briefing on Monday.

However, Dr. Anthony Boutin, CEO of NuHealth, which runs NUMC, has argued that the state’s calculation of 19 percent is incorrect, and NUMC has in fact administered 34 percent of the vaccines they’ve received. In a statement, he said the state had inaccurate numbers due to “IT interface issues relating to the reporting of vaccination data.”

We agree with the governor that this is not an optimal percentage,” Boutin continued. “We have been increasing the availability of scheduling appointments since the second week of receiving the vaccines. It is NUMC’s priority to safely distribute to all of our staff that requests the vaccine, while being aware of scheduling implications for each department.”

The East Meadow hospital, along with several other low-performing hospitals across the state, is now at risk of being fined up to $100,000 and not receiving further vaccines if it does not administer all of its allocation by the end of this week, according to a letter sent to all hospitals by the New York State Department of Health. Also, all New York hospitals now have seven days from the day they receive an allocation of vaccines to administer them.

“You have the allocation,” Cuomo said. “We want it in people’s arms as soon as possible.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said she has reached out to NUMC to find out what their plan is for ramping up administration of the vaccine.

“I’ve reached out and demanded to know what NUMC’s vaccine distribution plan is,” she said during a news conference on Monday. “What’s happening now does not meet my expectations for a plan.”

Other elected officials were also quick to speak out about NUMC’s handling of the vaccine plan.

“It is inexcusable for [NUMC] to have distributed only 19 percent of the vaccine it has been provided,” Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello said in a statement. “By failing to distribute the vaccine, the hospital is failing as a safety net for those most in need of medical care, including communities of color. 

“The County Executive can try to distance herself from NUMC,” he continued, “but she needs to light a fire under the Chairman of the Board, whom she appointed to run NUMC.”

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