By touring NRAD Medical Associates’ Village of Lake Success office on Ohio Drive Tuesday, U.S. Rep Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) received what he characterized as an invaluable look at what drives one of Nassau County’s largest private health-care providers and employers.
Israel, who is campaigning to win re-election to a newly configured 3rd Congressional District, was hosted by NRAD Medical Associates shareholders Dr. Eric Schnipper and Dr. Jay Bosworth for what they said was an inside look at a company that employs nearly 600 people and treats hundreds of thousands of patients each year.
“Knowing how important and integral health care is to his district, which is going to become his district after November, (Israel) ... is wisely making a decision to visit health-care facilities,” Schnipper said. “Since we’re probably the largest, or certainly the largest private outpatient employer in his district, it’s a good thing he (came).”
Including its corporate headquarters in Garden City and what Bosworth said was its second largest campus at 6 Ohio Drive in Lake Success, NRAD Medical Associates maintains offices in Hempstead, Woodbury, Manhasset and Queens.
In Lake Success, NRAD Medical Associates also operates an office at 1410 Lakeville Road. The health-care provider treats patients from another local location at its 1350 Northern Boulevard office in Manhasset as well.
“I try and visit businesses as much as possible because most of what I need to know and understand about the economy I learn simply visiting small businesses,” Israel said. “I don’t learn by listening to testimony by some bureaucrat. I don’t learn by reading position papers. I learn by understanding the specific challenges that businesses face.”
Since his induction in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001, Israel has served the 2nd District, which encompassed all of Suffolk and portions of eastern Nassau counties.
Israel is now running for re-election against Republican challenger Stephen Labate in a 3rd District, which includes areas of Great Neck and Queens that were previous strongholds of retiring veteran Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-6th District).
In Nassau County, the 3rd District will include all or part of Oyster Bay, Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Roslyn, Williston Park, Floral Park and New Hyde Park.
The new 3rd District also encompasses the Queens neighborhoods of Whitestone, Beechhurst, Little Neck, Douglaston, Fort Totten, Bay Terrace and a portion of Bayside.
This week’s meeting with Bosworth, husband of Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck), along with Schnipper and several of NRAD Medical Associates’ physicians and other staff helped Israel get better acquainted with the 3rd District.
“In this business, it’s been challenged by bureaucratic decisions in Washington regarding reimbursement rates,” the congressman said. “I’ve always been opposed to having a bureaucrat in Washington determine reimbursements on Long Island because many of those bureaucrats don’t know Long Island from Louisiana.”
“This fortifies my fight,” Israel added, “to make sure that local physicians and patients and medical businesses are getting reimbursed fairly rather than bureaucratically.”
For NRAD Medical Associates, that means helping shareholders cope with a round of reimbursement cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Schnipper said.
“What we used to get paid $1,100 for, we’re now getting paid under $400,” Schnipper said. “You can imagine with all the other expenses of running an operation like this how difficult it is to continue to provide the kind of quality service your constituents need.”
And that is a valuable service considering NRAD Medical Associates provides 1 out of every 200 mammograms, or about 100,000, performed in the U.S. each year, Schnipper said.
“Women in the community really rely on us and our well being to come to us because people don’t come to the hospital, for example, for a mammogram,” the doctor said. “They would like to go to a private office.”
In addition to reduced reimbursement rates, Bosworth said NRAD Medical Associates has not given its staff members a raise in three years.
Schnipper said continuing to operate NRAD Medical Associates has become problematic given the current economic environment, combined with the reduced reimbursement rates.
“We’re around because we were stronger and larger to begin with,” Schnipper said. “There is a finite amount of time that we can sustain this.”
Over the past several years, Bosworth said NRAD Medical Associates has made a transition from a facility that included 30 doctors working out of 15 offices to the nearly 600 people it employs today.
“The last few years we expanded,” Bosworth said. “We went in Queens, Jamaica Estates. We put in a new office in Woodbury. We took over a facility in Manhasset.”
Now NRAD Medical Associates operates as what Bosworth said is a “multi-specialty” practice. He said NRAD Medical Associates employs seven breast surgeons, four gynecologists, a pediatrician, an internist, a pediatric neurologist, and an orthopedist in addition to its doctors performing radiology and radiation oncology procedures.
Bosworth, who has served as an NRAD Medical Associates shareholder for nearly eight years, said the health-care providers’ expansion has been supported by its staff members.
“All the shareholders, everybody agrees this is the way to go,” he said. “It’s been helpful because of the market changes, hospitals are getting bigger, we had to do something also to make sure we stay as an entity.”
The message portrayed by NRAD Medical Associates shareholders was “very powerful,” Israel said.
“You can consider that reimbursement for medical services are going down, but you don’t always make the correlation to what that means for a nurse who is helping somebody with an MRI here,” Israel said. “That helps establish that correlation.”
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