University Hospital Staying Relevant in Competitive Market
John Kastanis, Former President and CEO of University Hospital, discusses the rising cost of healthcare services, the new bill that calls for transparency in billing to reduce out-of-network costs, and how University Hospital stays relevant in such a competitive market.
"We welcome back John Kastanis President and CEO of University Hospital in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. Good to see you John. Likewise. It's nice to be here. I should disclose, University has been a longtime underwriter of our programming, particularly on the healthcare side of the Caucus Educational Corporation. John, the biggest challenge in urban healthcare today is...? Fill in the blank. Maintaining high quality care and trying to do it all within an increasing reduction in resources, financial reimbursement, from third-party payors. What does that mean? Third-party payors? Well Medicare and Medicaid, which is the government category, any state appropriations, local appropriations, as we all know, most municipalities, even starting in Washington, everybody's challenged with their budgets. That's right. And with that, it trickles down. And when you have a public acute care hospital, such as University Hospital in Newark, that's owned and operated by the state of New Jersey, along with the state's budgetary challenges, it trickles down to the hospital as well. So it's so interesting, University... it's not run by the state? You lead it. You don't work for the s...? You know, you're not an employee of the state of New Jersey? I happen to be, as are most of our employees. However, to your point... But you have your independence? We have a board of directors… Right. ...that are really the ultimate responsibility for running the hospital. It's so interesting. You've been in... by the way, your background, we we're just saying before we got on the air, a few years in the industry? [laughter] Try 38. Started in hospital administration immediately? Yes. First-line... frontline administrative position right out of graduate school, way back in 1980 at the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, moved on to work for New Rochelle... well it used to be called New Rochelle Medical Center. Right. Then on to working with the Sisters of Charity on Staten Island, and then the Hospital for Joint Diseases in Manhattan, which ultimately merged with what is now called NYU Langone Medical Center. Sure. Bring it back to Newark. The constituency, the population you serve, describe it. It's what we refer to as a vulnerable population. Vulnerable? But when you talk about racial or ethnicity, half of the city - more than half of the city - is African-American, with many other minorities. I remember a stat off the top of my head where about 47 percent of the families that live in Newark, and use our Hospital, speak a foreign language in the home. Right. What about the whole insurance...? Underinsured, insured? What's the situation? We have a large portion of the population that are eligible for Medicaid, and with the Affordable Care..."