Thursday, April 16, 2015

3:14 AM

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New program responds to growing need for business and management skills in New York City’s evolving health care sector.

By Charla Stevens Kucko

The recent sea change in the nation’s health care industry with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can be viewed as positive or negative, depending on the business environment. While some in the industry recoil at the disruption change inevitably causes, others see it as an opportunity for innovation and growth.

Building on the success of the Simon Business School’s existing part-time specialized master’s program in Medical Management in Rochester, the School surveyed the New York City market and found there are no part-time accelerated master’s programs that combine industry expertise with cutting-edge management knowledge in the health care field.

“The existing graduate health care administration and management programs in New York City are lacking the economics and finance skill-building and the understanding of the health care industry that Simon is uniquely positioned to provide,” said Janet Anderson ’90S (MBA), executive director of professional programs.

With Sam Ogie ’01S (MBA), director of health care programs at Simon, associate professor and health care area coordinator Gerard Wedig, and executive health care professor and former Excellus BCBS CEO David H. Klein, the team explored the opportunity. After a series of encouraging meetings with several health care systems in the New York City area, and based on the success of Simon’s MS in Finance and MS in Management in NYC programs, the School is introducing a 13-month Master of Science in Health Care Management in New York City program starting in July 2015. The program is designed for working professionals with at least five to seven years of post-baccalaureate work experience who have recently entered or are about to take on management-level roles.

“Health care institutions are under significant financial pressure,” explains Ogie. “With the coming of the ACA, it’s a time of turmoil—delivery methodologies are being reconsidered and it’s not clear to health systems what their financial future is—so it’s the perfect time to offer a program like ours.”
Aside from the ACA, there is a shift in the financing of health care, which has implications for how institutions optimally have to organize to deliver care in an economically sustainable way for the organization and in a way that minimizes costs for the government and the payer, according to Ogie.

“In the New York City market, there is a significant amount of realignment going on—partnerships are being formed with an eye to altering the delivery model,” he notes. “Organizations are seeing a need for people who understand the economics driving these changes and the intricacies of providing health care. That’s something our program can help foster in their up-and-coming new leaders.”

MS in Management student Paul Stuart
has a background in labor relations and
finds real value in the skills he learns
at Simon.
Paul Stuart, MS in Management candidate, Class of 2015, is experiencing that realignment firsthand. With an undergraduate background in industrial and labor relations from Cornell, Stuart began his career as an organizer in a health care workers union before going to work at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He started at Maimonides as one of three internal consultants for the Medical Center’s labor management partnership, which is focused on improved patient care and employer/employee relations. After nearly five years, he moved to human resources, where he became director of labor management relations and development. Currently, as assistant vice president for human resources, he oversees labor relations and the employment division of the hospital; this led him to decide to earn a graduate degree in business. With a busy career and a young family, Stuart found Simon’s one-year part-time program with classes every other weekend in New York City a perfect fit.

“If I want to have a seat at the table as an HR executive when strategic decisions are being made, I need to be able to hold my own in discussions related to finance and strategy. This [program] is giving me a foundation to be able to do that,” he says. “It’s changing the way I’m thinking about things and shifting my focus.”

Stuart decided not to wait for the launch of the Health Care Management in NYC program, so he started in the MS in Management program with the option of taking health care-specific courses when the new program begins in July.

“Simon is uniquely positioned to draw on the expertise of both the business school and the medical center to provide the business background that anyone in a senior position in a medical center needs,” he says. “It will give you practical and useful knowledge that you can apply to your job immediately.”

That is precisely the reason Fred Borrelli ’94S (MBA), ’07S (MS) pursued an MBA when he was associate chief for finance administration in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Surgery. Simon was developing its part-time Medical Management master’s program at the time. After completing his MBA, Borrelli decided to earn the MS for a more in-depth view of health care from a business perspective. Currently, as COO of Yale Medical Group, a physician practice group within the Yale University School of Medicine, he oversees 150 outpatient clinical locations and supports more than 1,800 physicians and other clinical professionals, who produce approximately $800 million in annual clinical revenue. Borrelli says the new degree program in New York City is greatly needed to prepare health care professionals for the evolving business of health care in a dense urban environment. “New York City continues to be an extremely competitive marketplace,” he says. “There’s significant consolidation happening in that market, and physicians in New York City are in need of the benefits that a Simon program can offer. The program will allow them to understand, and be strategically prepared for, today’s health care business climate as well as for the long term.”

Paula Fessler ’14S (MS) realized an
advanced business degree would greatly
enhance her knowledge base and her
ability to positively affect patient care.
Paula Fessler ’14S (MS) started her career in nursing at the Duke University Medical Center. When
she arrived at the University of Rochester Medical Center, she took a position as a nurse practitioner in the Emergency Department, where she was later offered a leadership position. Although she enjoyed her new role, she soon realized an advanced business degree would greatly enhance her knowledge base and her ability to positively affect patient care. “I pursued the Medical Management master’s at Simon because I didn’t have the tools I needed to communicate with hospital leadership,” Fessler says. The most important thing she learned, she notes, was to use metrics to examine the big picture and to understand how operations affect the quality of patient care and the patient experience. Another key benefit emerged in the project work she did with her team for the University’s Office of Technology Transfer. “Using the skills we learned in our Simon classes, our team developed an exciting business plan for a startup company,” she says.

Fessler will be using the skills she acquired at Simon in her new senior position as vice president of the emergency service line for the North Shore–Long Island Jewish health care system. Overseeing emergency operations for 16 hospitals and numerous urgent care facilities, Fessler is focused on providing high-quality patient care and patient experience across all facilities in the system. Her Simon degree, Fessler says, definitely helped her to get there.

With so much positive feedback from current students, faculty, and alumni, as well as from health care industry leaders, Simon administrators are confident this new program will add significant value to the School’s growing portfolio of part-time educational offerings in New York City—Simon’s second home.


  1. If you look through the job descriptions of almost all senior positions across industries, you can see that MBA is the preferred degree, though perhaps not mandatory.

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