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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Jewish Voice exclusive interview with Michael Dowling; CEO of North Shore-LIJ

Now that Brooklyn’s iconic Maimonides Hospital has reached an affiliation agreement with North Shore-LIJ Health System, the Jewish Voice wishes to provide our readers with the most current information that will directly impact their healthcare decisions. We had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Michael J. Dowling, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the North Shore-LIJ Health System about the agreement. Prior to assuming the post of president and CEO of North Shore in 2002, Mr. Dowling was the health system’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Q      What kind of role will North Shore play in the agreement it has reached with Maimonides? Will Maimonides maintain its independence while benefitting from the financial assistance of North Shore?

A    I am exceptionally pleased about the strategic partnership that we’ve reached with Maimonides. We are working very closely with them concerning the establishment of join clinical programs. Because we know that the people of Brooklyn and throughout New York City have come to depend on the excellent medical care that has been provided by Maimonides, we are working to expand the catchman area of Maimonides in Brooklyn.

There is no doubt that Maimonides has earned a reputation as a stellar health facility and that was done by providing its patients with the very best care in the very best of environments. We are very happy and fortunate to be working with the dedicated people at Maimonides and look forward to creating a much tighter relationship with them as that is something that is in our mutual interest.

North Shore-LIJ will provide Maimonides with capital resources and access to its extensive shared services infrastructure and expertise, enabling the hospital management to make needed investments while continuing to improve operating efficiencies.

Q     This past year Maimonides had reported a $4.2 million operating loss. Is North Shore-LIJ going to be taking steps to reduce staff and departments at Maimonides that are expendable?

A      We have no definitive plans to reduce staff or do away with departments at Maimonides. If anything, our long range objective is to see the services that Maimonides provides grow and expand; not to shrink. So, everyone employed at this wonderful hospital can relax and sleep well as no layoffs or departmental closings are planned. Right now, we at North Shore-LIJ are getting to know the people at Maimonides and we want to enhance their position in the borough. In the near future our plans include expanding Maimonides’ ambulatory footprint as we have done with other health facilities that we’ve partnered with.

We find that we can effectively serve many more people by opening up off site locations and broadening the range of services that we provide outside of the hospital. We also want to expand our relationships with the incredibly fine staff of physicians at Maimonides as they are the ones working directly with patients and making such a difference in people’s lives. We also want to enhance the market share; enhance the growth.

Q      We have learned that in comparison to other hospitals throughout Brooklyn and the other boroughs, the radiology department at Maimonides does not attract the number of patients as many think it should. Are there problems in that department and if so, how can they be rectified?

A       As to departments at Maimonides, we need to take the time to get to know each department separately and then make evaluations. We have to gain a real understanding of the workings of each department. We need to understand all of the benefits that Maimonides has accrued over the years in terms of serving the public’s health needs. We also hope they can learn from us and we can create the kind of atmosphere where everyone’s lives are being improved. We want every department at Maimonides to reach its highest potential in this world class institution. We look forward to combining our complementary strengths as we work with the Maimonides Board and management team to identify other opportunities to meet the critical health needs of the borough’s 2.6 million residents.”

Q        After 20 years as President and CEO of Maimonides, Pam Brier is stepping down and replacing her will be Kenneth Gibbs, chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees. Can you tell us about your personal experience with these two professionals?

A        First, allow me to say that discussions about a possible strategic partnership between Maimonides and North-Shore LIJ have taken place over the course of many years. During this time, I spent a great deal of time with Kenneth Gibbs and am proud to know him. He is a really good guy in every respect of the word, Even though Ken’s background is not of a health professional, I must say that it is not necessarily bad to have someone from outside of your industry come in and add his unique and extensive expertise.

Ken led Maimonides through the process of selecting North Shore-LIJ as the right partner for the institution and worked with senior leadership at both institutions as well as a broad spectrum of internal and external stakeholders. Ken has also spent 30 years in public finance and has led numerous financing deals that support essential public programs and facilities in cities and states around the country.

Pam Brier has done a truly outstanding and exemplary job in her role as CEO of Maimonides over the last two decades. She is a visionary leader and helped in significant ways towards the hospital’s financial strength. She also focused on efforts to improve community engagement and genuinely celebrated the culturally diverse neighborhoods around the hospital. We will miss Pam very much and we know that she has left a long standing reputation for excellence in the health care field.

Q     Thus far, North Shore-LIJ has succeeded in partnering with many hospitals in the New York City area and you’ve managed to bring the best doctors aboard. How did you manage to convince Dr. David Samadi to leave the staff at Mount Sinai and join Lenox Hill?

A      We talked with David for a very long time and told him of the benefits of joining Lenox Hill and asked him to consider transitioning in order to provide his patients with the best facilities possible. Because Dr. Samadi’s main concern revolves around what is in the best interests of his patients, he did give our request careful consideration. We are confident that with a world renowned specialist such as Dr. Samadi at Lenox Hill, our patients seeking help with prostate issues will be in a much better position.  As a matter of fact, Dr. Samadi has become a most ubiquitous chap. Recently, I was at an airport waiting for a flight and was reading a magazine and saw Dr. Samadi’s picture. I said, “He is with me, everywhere I go.”  I am so incredibly proud of his varied achievements.