As the South Bronx was ravaged by COVID-19 Lincoln Hospital has been there for the community.
Yet, when it came to hire a new CEO after the departure of Milton Nuñez, no one from Lincoln contacted elected officials for input. Pols are angry that not only were they left out of the process, but Nunez’ replacement is not even from the borough.
In February, it was announced that Cristina Contreras, executive director of NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx will be promoted to CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in East Harlem. Christopher Roker, who is CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, will serve as CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. The appointments are effective April 1.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and fellow Bronx lawmakers expressed discontent with Lincoln last month.
“We’re here today because we’re angry,” Diaz said. “We’re here today because we’re upset. We want to call out Mitchell Katz (President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals) for their hypocrisy. Now more than ever we need leadership at the hospital.”
Diaz and his colleagues did not understand why Contreras of Morris Park, who has been with NYC Health + Hospitals for 25 years, was not promoted at Lincoln.
As the city slowly recovers from the pandemic and gets vaccinated, health care will be looked at like security was post 9/11, Diaz explained. With this in mind, someone like Contreras who knows the Bronx should have been the person for the job.
“She could easily be someone who could be in charge of Lincoln Hospital,” he stressed. “Why send her to Manhattan and send somebody that doesn’t understand us here.”
Councilman Rafael Salamanca knows the hospital well not only because he represents the area, but Lincoln was where his father spent his last days as he died from COVID-19 last year. He praised the doctors and nurses for the work they do.
Over the past two years he has allocated nearly $4 million to Lincoln, including $2.8 million for a nurse call button in January. Yet, like Diaz he is angry that they were not included in the hiring process for the new CEO.
“It was all good a week ago when they needed us for capital dollars,” he commented. “When decisions are being made speak to us.”
Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez questioned why a woman and a Latina was overlooked. She noted how Lincoln execs often “blow up their phones for money,” yet left them out of this process.
“Cristina Contreras deserves this position,” she stated. “She has gone above and beyond with North Central Bronx and it is no question she could do it right here.”