Top NYC hospital execs are in Florida as workers fight virus

Two of the Mount Sinai Health System’s top executives are riding out the coronavirus pandemic down in Florida, as their hospitals up north weather medical supply shortages and rising death tolls, report Melissa Klein and Beth Landman of the New York Post.

Dr. Kenneth Davis, 72, the CEO of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Dr. Arthur Klein, 72, president of the Mount Sinai Health Network, are both sheltering near Palm Beach, Florida, according to the Post. Dr. Davis is thought to have been in his waterfront $2.6 million, six-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion since at least early March. It is not known how long Dr. Klein has been in Florida, but the Post reports that he is staying at his oceanfront condo down in Palm Beach.

Their absence from New York City comes as the city’s health system overflows with victims and patients while the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the state. New York City is now the epicenter of the virus in the United States, with over 45,000 cases and at least 1,500 reported deaths.

Amid a medical supply shortage, hospital workers have resorted to reusing face masks and wearing trash bags as hospital gowns to treat patients. Makeshift morgues are now situated outside of hospitals, and a field hospital has been set up at Central Park. 

Dr. Davis has been CEO of the Mount Sinai Medical Center since 2003. He was previously the chair of Mount Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry, a position he held for 15 years. He is also a noted Alzheimer’s researcher. Dr. Klein has been president of the Mount Sinai Health Network since February 2013. Trained as a pediatric cardiologist, he previously worked as the Regional Executive Director, Western Region of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Two hospital leaders take to Palm Beach as workers in New York City succumb to the coronavirus

In his daily briefing on April 2, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City has only a 6-day supply of ventilators. Meanwhile, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio expects the number of cases to rise substantially, with an urgent need for increased help and more medical professionals in the city.

Dr. Davis, when reached by the Post, said that he had been in Florida before the pandemic reached the point it’s at now. He also told the Post’s reporters that he was advised by his doctor to stay in Florida because of his age. He then suggested that Dr. Klein was told the same thing and that they don’t have to physically be in the city to “get the job done.”

Meanwhile, hospital workers in the city, including those who work for Mount Sinai, are being infected with the virus as they treat patients. On April 2, it was reported that Priscilla Carrow, a coordinating manager at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, had died from COVID-19, just days after Kious Kelly, an assistant nurse manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan, died. Kelly was just 48.

“Do you know that from the time I wake up from the time I go to bed I am totally engaged?” Dr. Davis said when contacted by the Post on March 27. “Do you know that I get over 400 emails that I reply to. That on a good day it’s every 90 seconds and that on a bad day it’s almost every minute. That I have teleconferencing with Zoom like constantly. When they don’t have a Zoom, I’m on the phone with them. I mean, please.”

New York State Nurses Association Union President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez blasted Dr. Klein and Dr. Davis for their absence, according to the Post.

“How can you inspire confidence in your employees who are in the front lines of the epicenter that you have their best interests at heart when you are 1,000 miles away?” she said. “Even more important, what are you doing to procure the PPE [personal protective equipment] that is proven to save lives of caregivers and, ultimately, the patients we care for? We are not protected. And every day it is getting worse.”

Dr. Davis earned $6 million in compensation in 2018, according to the Post. In April 2019, Crain’s New York Business reported that Dr. Davis took home nearly $12.4 million in total cash compensation, which included a $8.3 million retirement plan payout that “reflects his 40 years of service.” Aside from his Florida mansion, he also owns a $2 million home in Long Island, New York, and a $7 million mansion in Aspen, Colorado, per the Post.

A May 2017 report from Crain’s New York Business showed that Dr. Klein was compensated $1.3 million in 2015.

Representatives for Dr. Davis and Dr. Klein at Mount Sinai didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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