Conference’s ‘elevated discussion’ to examine deepening ties between real estate, health care

Joshua Burd//April 5, 2016//

Conference’s ‘elevated discussion’ to examine deepening ties between real estate, health care

Joshua Burd//April 5, 2016//

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A conference next week will shine a light on Halstead Healthcare System, a dominant provider whose footprint is filled with all types of physical assets — from a suburban campus and off-site specialty centers, to recently acquired physician practices and struggling urban hospitals.

The organization also happens to be entirely fictional, part of a theoretical case study hatched by the Rutgers Center for Real Estate that will be the foundation for its second annual conference.

“As part of an academic institution … the Center for Real Estate feels with all of its events that we have to deliver an elevated discussion, a higher level of substance when it hosts a conference or seminar or other event that focuses on real estate,” said Ted Zangari, an executive committee member for the center. “So we thought that an issues-packed, fact-driven hypothetical or case study would help us raise the level of discussion to a more substantive level than you might find at some of the other conferences on this topic in the past.”

The Future of Healthcare Real Estate Symposium will take place Friday, April 15, at Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. It’s expected to bring together leaders from the real estate and health care industries, who will highlight the ever-growing overlap between the two sectors amid sweeping changes in how hospital and medical services are delivered.

George Jacobs, who co-wrote the case study with Zangari, said the format is meant to show the challenges that may be typical in such situations and the opportunities that might typically present themselves. All while allowing panelists to speak freely about a hypothetical hospital system.

“There’s obviously similarities to various events around the state, but there was no one particular model,” said Jacobs, who also serves on the program’s executive committee. “And the hope is, by doing it this way, we’re able to able to not put anybody on the spot for their own deal, their own history or anything else, but we can look at it a little bit more cerebrally.”

The 8-page study case study, which is available here, portrays Halstead Healthcare System and the implications of its future plans. Those plans include the potential acquisition of an inner-city hospital and changes to existing facilities plans.

As moderators, Zangari and Jacobs will steer a discussion that weighs the impact of those decisions, with hospital executives, developers and other professionals weighing in. They’ll also highlight the conflicts that arise between different stakeholders, such as hospital executives and local officials.

All told, they said the discussion will touch topics such as property taxes, adaptive reuse of shuttered hospitals, off-campus specialty centers and workforce housing. As one example, Zangari pointed to the changes in how hospitals operate their gift shops and cafeterias.

“You’ve got patients now, and visitors to those patients, who are expecting an elevated level of services than did yesteryear’s customers,” said Zangari, a real estate attorney with Sills Cummis & Gross PC. “So the retail you’re noticing inside hospitals have gotten more mall-like. The restaurant inside a hospital might be an Au Bon Pain or a Panera Bread, not the generic cafeteria of years past.”

The conference will also feature a keynote from Marc Berson, chairman of Fidelco Group, who has extensive experience with health care as the board chairman of the former Barnabas Health. The same could be said for many other attendees and members of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate advisory board.

“It’s something that a lot of us have had interaction with,” said Jacobs, president of Jacobs Enterprises Inc. “It’s very much a part of the real estate world.”

For registration information, visit the Rutgers Business School website.