The Understated Political Prowess of Montefiore Medical Center CEO Steven Safyer
The president and CEO of Montefiore Medical Center — Steven Safyer, MD — has an understated political influence in the Bronx, but one that is garnering more attention in New York City as he takes on social issues related to healthcare, according to a New York Times report.
Dr. Safyer has led Montefiore, a four-hospital system with 125 health clinics, since 2008. It is the largest employer in the Bronx and provides comprehensive care to roughly one-third of Bronx patients and emergency or non-routine care to another third, according to the report. The system serves one of the most financially- and health-challenged urban neighborhoods in the country.
Dr. Safyer's political influence in New York is on the rise. His role as chairman of the Greater New York Hospital Association has given him a greater lobbying role in Albany, according to the report, and he has shown a drive to tackle community issues. For instance, Montefiore has become a leader in anti-obesity efforts in the Bronx under Dr. Safyer's watch. He was responsible for banning candy, soda and deep-fried food from hospital premises, and was alongside Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he proposed a citywide ban on supersized sodas — a proposal made in Montefiore's lobby, according to the report.
Political leaders and consultants in the Bronx have said Dr. Safyer is not prone to yelling or threats, but is "so relentless in laying out his arguments over and over again that it could be very hard to say no to him," according to the report. Lawmakers praise him for his low-key demeanor and humility. For instance, one state senator mispronounced Dr. Safyer's name for months without the CEO saying anything, according to the report.
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