The most challenging part about naming our No. 1 on the NJBIZ Power 50 Health Care list was coming up with the biggest reason why.
There are so many reasons.
Robert Garrett’s accomplishments as co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health are so numerous and so wide-ranging, it’s hard to pick out one as the no-doubt-about-it moment.
Of course, there is the merger between Hackensack University Health Network and Meridian Health to form the second-biggest health care system in the state. And the partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering is the type of deal many CEOs would rest on for years.
Not Garrett. He keeps looking for his next one. And, in this case, he found a unique partnership with New Jersey Institute of Technology’s New Jersey Innovation Institute to create a $25 million innovation center, along with an incubator at Hackensack Meridian’s medical school with Seton Hall University, to help find and fund new players in the health care sector.
It’s a move that differentiates Garrett.
What’s next? Even our insiders don’t know.
“While everyone else is sleeping, he’s strategizing on what his next deal is,” the insider said. “There’s a bit of a running joke that, if Bob is at a red light for too long, he’ll come up with the next person he can partner with.”
There are partnerships with both CVS and RiteAid clinics in the region — and a movement to bring more CityMD urgent care centers from New York City.
There are partnerships and affiliations with independent hospitals and physician groups, too. And even an agreement with Eli Manning and the New York Giants to promote kids cancer awareness and research, a partnership that helped Manning share the honor as the NFL’s Man of the Year.
But, let’s be clear. Garrett’s success isn’t all about partnerships. The flagship hospital of his system, Hackensack University Medical Center, annually is ranked the best in the state.
And Garrett and his team are noted experts, literally asked to speak around the world.
Last year, he accompanied his chief innovation officer, Andrew Pecora, for a conference at the Vatican. In January, he attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
For all he’s accomplished, insiders say one thing remains clear: his commitment to Hackensack Meridian and the state of New Jersey.
Right now, one-third of the state is within 15 minutes of a touchpoint of the organization, whether it be a hospital, an urgent care center or some other partner.
Garrett’s goal: Make it half of the state, and have them be within 10 minutes.
It’s an ambitious goal. And just one more reason that Garrett is No. 1.