How is New York’s health care sector faring after Covid

In the early days of the pandemic, the focus of our health care advisory practice shifted to helping clients respond to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on infection control and human resources issues. Simultaneously, we were helping providers access vital financial relief to keep their organizations afloat through the Paycheck Protection Program, Provider Relief Funds and employee retention credits, among other emergency funding opportunities.

While providers are still dealing with the compliance requirements of these programs, infection control and workforce concerns, most health care providers we work with have moved on from mere survival stage to full-growth mode.

The pandemic has brought significant growth opportunities for urgent care and primary care providers, as the need for testing, immunizations and illness management has exponentially grown. Specialty and diagnostic services struggled for some time, but we are now seeing more patients following up with screenings and being referred for specialty follow-up visits and treatment.

Behavioral health providers have done well transitioning to telehealth and responding to the significant mental health needs arising from the crisis.

Grassi Healthcare Advisors is seeing a rise in investors and provider organizations responding to the need for more urgent care and primary care facilities. We are working with many of them to achieve this goal through strategic planning and financial modeling. We are also advising on fair market value and commercial reasonableness pricing for the management service organizations that provide services to these new practices. As organizations grow and respond to evolving patient and community needs, we are helping them assess capacity and the willingness of their workforce to step up to the plate. At the same time we are helping them develop their leadership and staff engagement strategies to ensure success.

These providers who have not rebounded as well from the Covid-19 crisis are those who provide in-patient or residential services. Hospitals and nursing homes are struggling with recruitment and retention of staff, and in many cases they have had to limit admissions, relative to staff availability. Residential substance use treatment, mental health care and developmental disabilities programs are experiencing similar difficulties with recruiting adequate levels of staff.

The biggest challenge has been faced by skilled nursing facilities and other organizations that have not been able to reopen beds because of staff shortages and now face threats to their financial sustainability. We are working with them to identify cost savings and revenue improving initiatives, as well as capital rationalization planning, all of which gets compiled into a transformation plan. Many of these plans will result in these facilities partnering or merging with other organizations to lower overhead costs and improve margins. These transformation plans will be crucial to securing additional avenues of financial relief, such as the state’s new Nursing Home Vital Access Provider Assurance Program.

These health care providers who are not afraid to embrace innovation, seek business advice and implement positive change will fare the best, regardless of subsector. Recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is the perfect time to reevaluate what is working and what needs to change to ensure organizations are on the right track for long-term profitability and sustainability.

Joseph Tomaino Joseph Tomaino is the Chief Executive Officer of Grassi Healthcare Advisors, LLC and has nearly 40 years of healthcare management experience working in the not-for-profit, for-profit and government-sponsored segments. As a chief executive officer, chief nursing officer, consultant, and educator, Joseph has worked with provider organizations and payers across the U.S. as an architect of value based care -- improving clinical effectiveness along with... Read full bio