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Power 50 Health Care: (No. 50 - 26)

- Last modified: March 20, 2017 at 10:16 AM
50 Matthew Platkin (NR)
50 Matthew Platkin (NR)
Phil Murphy's “policy guy” is impressing everyone, giving the presumed gubernatorial front-runner an edge when it comes to discussing health care policy and issues. Should Murphy win in November, Platkin's stature in the sector only figures to rise.
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Phil Murphy's “policy guy” is impressing everyone, giving the presumed gubernatorial front-runner an edge when it comes to discussing health care policy and issues. Should Murphy win in November, Platkin's stature in the sector only figures to rise. Behind every successful merger is a team hard at work to make all the puzzle pieces fit. Lozano, as chief of staff, knows that more than anyone. He played a key role in the merger when Hackensack Meridian formed, and is a trusted leader who continues to help build its ever-expanding offerings of services. He’s another behind-the-scenes individual who many outsiders don’t know. Insiders do. Paladugu gets a lot of recognition this year for the success of Horizon’s OMNIA plan last year. “He is the unsung hero and architect of OMNIA,” one insider said. As the lobbyist for Atlantic Health, Ferraro’s presence in Trenton and around the state doesn’t go unnoticed among power players in the sector and the Legislature. “She is included in key discussions and has a seat at the table,” one source said. The Medical Society of New Jersey lost credibility in the eyes of many in the state amid the many health care legislative battles this year. At the same time, MSNJ gets credit for having blocked progress on some key bills last year. As with his colleagues at NJHA, Downs has the task of trying to represent many different interests in one of the hardest-hit sectors of health care, some say. Because of its role in heading the leadership academy, and identifying the next generation of leaders in the state, many say MSNJ has remained relevant. The two national names in cancer care are another example of the changing face of health care power players in the state. They appear ready to do battle for market share: MD Anderson has made its case by partnering with both Cooper and Summit Medical Group. MSK is making its case with a partnership with Hackensack Meridian. As is apparent by the Power 50 Health Care overall this year, the industry landscape has drastically changed in recent years. In addition to trade groups for physicians, insurers and hospitals, the home care and hospice field is an increasingly important factor in the overall discussion of health care. For that reason, Buteas, CEO and president of the Home Care & Hospice Association of New Jersey, and a well-known and respected voice in the Legislature for her members, makes the list this year. “One of the stars” and “bright and energetic” are some of the ways insiders describe Patel, chief strategy officer at Horizon. He is a successful entrepreneur in the medical world who sold his two businesses to come back to Horizon. He continues on the board for Pecora’s COTA and has some venture capital work, but his position at Horizon is also prominent. He worked on and was at the table for OMNIA, and is a sort of a spokesperson for the product, insiders said. But some speculate he may not stay at the insurer long. After taking a low profile for a year, O’Dowd, a former state health commissioner, is re-emerging as a player with her work behind the scenes on some major plans for Rutgers Health. In addition, she serves on the board of Horizon, giving her a seat at the table of two major power players in the state. Many insiders believe her star is on the rise again, and she will become more visible in upcoming years. As health care is changing, so, too, are the players who are important. That can certainly be said about Straus, chairman and CEO of CareOne. His job is to oversee nursing and assisted living facilities, and, although his reach is mostly in the northern region of the state, many big players are looking to him for help on how to handle the increasing aging population. It can also be said for Parker, the CEO and president of Carrier Clinic. As the governor takes on the fight against the state’s opioid addiction problem, behavioral health providers are going to play an important role as partners in the state. Carrier Clinic already has established itself as a solid partner for many providers, and will continue to be elevated in the state as the focus of health care changes from a hospital to all other veins of health care. The Meridian Health CEO was instrumental in the merger with Hackensack University Health Network, becoming co-CEO of the new entity. Now, however, many see Lloyd as taking more of a backseat to Garrett in the dual leadership role. Lloyd is nearing retirement, so not many are surprised. “He is still very much respected in the state,” one source said. Especially within his own organization. “The Meridian folks are still fiercely loyal to and admire Lloyd,” an insider said. Though he has created a large, successful health system in South Jersey, “Miller’s power doesn’t expand beyond Virtua,” one insider said. He doesn’t have contacts in the State House, as evidenced by the loss of the Camden ambulance service battle to Cooper, another insider said. Miller is retiring this year, but he has been so well-regarded by his peers that many feel he will still hang around the health care industry in the state. The Assembly majority leader focuses less on mainstream or headline-grabbing issues; he instead has been a huge proponent of population health efforts, especially social determinants of health care. Those concepts are increasingly important in health care and he is making himself a knowledgeable source in the Legislature. In addition, he has been on the front lines to study the idea of medical marijuana and its potential in New Jersey. Though she hasn’t been as visible as in recent years, Velez, New Jersey’s former commissioner of human services and currently an executive with RWJBarnabas, is poised to play a crucial role in the state’s health care industry again. Her work with behavioral health in Newark, as part of the state’s largest health system, means Velez will be a person to look to as Christie ramps up his exiting signature cause: opioid abuse in the state. A senior member of Hackensack Meridian, and formerly president of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, the new chairman of the NJHA is positioned well to make some interesting moves. A legacy Meridian guy who already had a name for himself, insiders say he is “angling to be (Robert) Garrett’s No. 2. It’s going to be interesting to watch.” What Slavin has done with the St. Joseph’s Healthcare mini-system in Paterson, and his lead on the behavioral health front, has not been lost on his peers. There are many who are increasingly impressed with his behavioral health work, and his launching of the North Jersey health collaborative to focus on population health gives him an additional boost. “No one can do in Paterson what he has done in Paterson,” one insider said. Horan continues to strengthen Trinitas Regional Medical Center and remain healthy as the only game in town in Elizabeth, with a variety of partnerships to boost the hospital's offerings. Of significance most recently are the partnership with the St. Joseph's to tackle behavioral health, as well as the internal renovations at the medical center — all signs of strength and continued regional impact in health care. The partnerships with St. Joseph's and Hackensack Meridian put Trinitas in the position of being an example to other small providers on how to survive in the merger-mania environment, one insider said. “Fighting that battle has not been easy, it's been successful in spite of some of the obstacles,” the insider said. “Gary has done a fabulous job there. But whether it survives as a standalone is questionable.” As the CEO of Holy Name Medical Center, Maron was a major player last year, leading the battle against Horizon over OMNIA. Though that fight has fizzled, he continues to stand out as a player with his efforts to bolster the standalone hospital in Teaneck. The doubling down on the Asian services program has separated him from the crowd and given him a unique position in the state. Although she is set to retire this year, the CEO and president of the New Jersey Hospital Association is working hard to do what some call a nearly impossible job. “Like herding cats,” one source said. She has been the face of the association in Washington, D.C., as the debate over the ACA continues, and was the point of contact for other states intrigued by the property tax debate that took place last year. The CEO and president of Advocare has helped elevated the physician group to where many feel it is catching up to Summit Medical Group in terms of size and impact. Advocare has been in the administrative management business long before Summit, and is now on par in terms of size, having reached 600 providers at last count. The bigger issue is this: In the ever-evolving world of health care, massive physician groups are only gaining in importance. The McCarter & English attorney is well-regarded in the health care space and has elevated herself in the past year with work done on behalf of hospitals in the property tax debate. Following the court decision that settled the Morristown Medical Center case, Feeney has been putting out fires on behalf of some of the major health care players by negotiating with municipalities for temporary agreements of payments in lieu of taxes. Glenning is a key behind-the-scenes player as the chief financial officer for Hackensack Meridian, which continues to expand its position in the state. “No matter what they do, and they do a lot, they need to bring the checkbook guy,” one insider said. “Glenning is the guy who figures out all of the finances for everything they are doing and want to do.” As the government affairs head for UnitedHealthcare, Acquaviva already was on many players’ lists of “ones to watch” for “elevating UHC in the state.” Even though UnitedHealthcare is national, and does not have a very large presence in-state, Acquaviva had been increasing the visibility of the insurer. But, now, with his recent to move to become Christie’s chief counsel, he gets an extra boost, as it places him well for a post-Christie job in the sector. He figures to be well sought after as the year winds down. A former commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance, Kobylowski has switched sides to work for AmeriHealth in Cranbury and is “sort of CEO of the Independence Blue Cross 'satellite,'” one source said. The parent company for AmeriHealth sits in Pennsylvania, but Kobylowski serves as a regulatory insider as he runs the New Jersey division. AmeriHealth is also now the only plan besides Horizon in the ACA marketplace, leaving the state with two competing “blues plans” and putting Kobylowski in an impactful position. Their work may be more important now than ever, shedding light on the next upheaval in the health care industry as Congress works on replacing the ACA. Castro has set himself apart from the crowd with his reports on the effects of out-of-network policy and the changes slated for Medicaid. He has become even more of a source for industry officials as “a data guy” to lean on for insight. Cantor has long been, and continues to be, a respected source for insight into health care policy. When he talks, power people in the industry listen.

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