Incoming NYC Health + Hospitals CEO to shift focus toward primary care: 4 takeaways

Mitchell H. Katz, MD, president and CEO of New York City-based NYC Health + Hospitals, said the public healthcare network must focus on improving its primary care initiatives to combat shrinking federal and state funds and declining patient populations, among other challenges.

Dr. Katz, who began his dual appointment as president and CEO Monday, spoke to The New York Times about his goals for the system and how his past experience at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services will inform his decision making at NYC Health + Hospitals.

Here are four takeaways from The New York Times report.

1. Dr. Katz highlighted the importance of maintaining public institutions such as NYC Health + Hospitals, a system comprising 11 hospitals, five nursing facilities, 70-plus community-based healthcare centers and clinics and approximately 40,000 employees.

"I'm all about trying to strengthen public hospitals," Dr. Katz told The New York Times. "Public hospitals are incredibly precious. If you don't look out for them, they'll disappear."

2. Dr. Katz said NYC Health + Hospitals faces a number of similar challenges he encountered while serving as director of the LACDHS, such as declining reimbursements and patient populations. NYC Health + Hospitals is one of the state's largest providers of healthcare to uninsured patients. Thirty-seven percent of the estimated 1.1 million patients who visited the system during the 2017 fiscal year were uninsured, according to a management report released by the New York City mayor's office and cited by The New York Times.

3. Dr. Katz said he inherited a $250 million budget when he started as head of the LACDHS in 2011, but left the agency with a $560 million surplus. The key to his success, he claims, was shifting the agency's focus toward outpatient services.

"It's all about providing primary care," he said. "When you take care of people over time your own involvement with them is healing, and you don't have to do as many tests to get to the answer because you know the person."

4. Dr. Katz said he also plans to expand the system's use of eConsult, an electronic health management system, to streamline care and reduce wait times for specialty appointments. He said he will also evaluate staff allocation and may consider decreasing administrative services to increase savings and revenue, the report states.

To access the full New York Times report, click here.

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