How the Incoming Governor Can Restore Public Trust in the Health Department

August 12, 2021

With Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul set to become governor in two weeks, she will need to assess quickly whether to move forward with the current health commissioner, policy experts said. Additionally, she can regain the public’s trust by being fully transparent about state data related to the nursing home scandal, they said.

The incoming governor will have to make installing her senior leadership within the Health Department a priority, said Mark Ustin, partner at Long Island–based law firm Farrell Fritz, which focuses on health care and regulatory affairs.

“However, there are considerable vacancies already, as the department had seen recent departures,” Ustin said, “which works in Hochul’s favor since she wouldn’t need to ask prior occupants to leave.” At least nine top health officials have resigned or retired since last summer, according to news reports.

But even as Hochul seeks to establish her chapter as distinct from Cuomo’s, the Health Department under Cuomo in the past one and a half years has built up experience handling Covid, Ustin said.

“Does that mean she should ask Dr. Zucker to stay?” Ustin asked. “There’s value in that, at least in the short term. But Dr. Zucker had also been roped into controversies surrounding how Cuomo handled the pandemic, and I understand if she wanted a new candidate.”

To read the full article, please click here (subscription required).

  • Related Practice Areas: Healthcare, New York State Regulatory & Government Relations
  • Featured Attorneys: Mark R. Ustin
  • Publications: Crain's New York Business