Invest: Miami speaks with Steven Sonenreich, President and CEO

With 5 million visitors coming to Miami Beach annually, the importance of Mount Sinai Medical Center and its strong emergency department cannot be overstated. Moreover, the economic impact that Mount Sinai has on its surrounding community is tremendous, falling somewhere between $5 billion and $6 billion a year. We are the only hospital in this city, and with 3,700 employees, we are also the largest employer in Miami Beach.

We have a $250-million building program, which is allowing us to build a state-of-the art surgical tower with 154 private rooms and 12 operating rooms. As medicine moves more and more into the outpatient space, hospitals are evolving to become surgery centers with intensive care components. This building will further enhance our position as a surgical destination hospital.

Beyond surgical excellence, we are concerned about wellness. About five years ago we made the decision not to hire people who utilize tobacco products. To enforce this, we test our potential hires for tobacco use, in a manner that is legal and appropriate. For our existing population who smoke, we offer an assortment of smoking cessation programs and medication at the hospital’s expense. At the end of the day, we want people to take ownership and become responsible for their health.

If you were to ask what is the number one thing that keeps health care CEOs up at night, I would venture to say that 99 percent of them would answer Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Given that on average these funds make up 50 percent of the revenues of most hospitals, and an even greater percentage of revenues when it comes to long-term care, efficiency becomes the most important operational responsibility. Apart from reimbursement, one area where we still have a ways to go is transparency in the pricing of health care, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Although we live in an age where we have access to all sorts of data and ratings, whether this is coming from U.S. News and World Report or The Leapfrog Group, there continues to be minimal knowledge when it comes to pricing.