BCW Panel Sees Rapidly Evolving Healthcare Sector Continuing to Drive Economy
The rapidly transforming healthcare sector will continue to create job growth and stimulate Westchester County’s economy. That was a major theme of a highly informative and engaging panel discussion by healthcare leaders at the Business Council of Westchester’s State of the Economy series this week. The panelists described how the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated changes that were already underway in healthcare, particularly the shift to outpatient care, lower costs, hyper-local offices and home care.
“We are all starting to feel—with the rollout of the vaccine, the extension of those eligible and the rates going down—that healthcare is at the top of everyone’s mind,” said BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon.
Panelists included Joseph Simone, President of Simone Development Companies; Michael Fosina, President of NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital; Lindsay Farrell, President of Open Door Family Medical Centers; Gina Cappelli, President of Forme Urgent Care and Wellness; and Robert Glazer, CEO of ENT and Allergy Associates.
Simone, whose real estate company is a leading developer of healthcare facilities, described how a consumer push to lower medical costs is causing a proliferation in out-patient services and medical procedures. An exploding aging population is also driving profound change. “Today there are 50 million people in the United States over the age of 65,” said Simone. “In the next 10 years alone, the over 65 population is going to grow by 20 million people. We have to become more efficient and effective in treating this aging population.”
Fosina said the society of convenience is motivating a growth in home care and the push by hospitals like NewYork-Presbyterian to establish satellite offices in Westchester County. “Expanding doctor offices in different communities also helps the local economy and local businesses. We’re adding people and staff members there who have disposable income to spend in the communities,” said Fosina.
Farrell said an aging population will put more pressure on the healthcare system to become more cost-efficient through a treatment method called value-based care that is not compensated on a per-patient basis. “You’re literally paid to take responsibility for a population of patients, and you have to deliver the right care at the right time and there’s lots of actuaries involved as there are in insurance companies,” said Farrell.
Cappelli said her company is working on a medical membership model in which patients pay in cash for routine and affordable care. “Who’s cut the expenses in their businesses where they can’t afford to pay the health insurance for the employees anymore?” said Cappelli, who is negotiating a lease for a new location at the Yonkers waterfront. “We have to make it affordable for everybody.”
Glazer said recruiting future employees will be one of his company’s biggest challenges in the coming years because of the region’s high cost of living. “Practice-wide I’m down about 200 employees that I can’t even find in this environment because it’s very competitive,” said Glazer, who has seen many physicians retire or leave the region during the pandemic.
Future State of the Economy sessions will focus on Education (April 7) and Hospitality (May 5). As the year progresses the BCW will announce more State of the Economy sessions focusing on other sectors that must recover from the pandemic downturn. The monthly State of the Economy programs will be held at 9 a.m. Attendees may register at www.thebcw.org
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