Michael Kochen, the CEO of Greater New York Nursing Services, joins your grey haired host of the Great American Senior Show, Sam Yates, to discuss Greater's expansion into the Florida senior care market.
Kochen also details a few hints of even further future expansion into Central and Southern Florida.
Greater makes the expansion move with the recent aquisition of VIP America, a Nurse Registry serving Southeast, Central, and Southwestern Florida.
Join our host as we follow a personal conversation with Michael Kochen, CEO, Greater New York Nursing Services and VIP America.
The Great American Senior Show podcast is produced by Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing. This podcast is part of the network of podcasts streaming under the umbrella of the Pod National News Network. For more information about Yates & Associates or the Pod National News Network, contact Sam Yates at (772) 528-5185 or Sam@Yatespro.com. Sponsorship opportunities are available. The Great American Senior Show is ranked 3rd Best in Senior Podcasts to Follow for 2023 in all podcasts for seniors in a comprehensive survey by feedspot.
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Yates & Associates is a full-service Public Relations and Marketing company serving select clients throughout the United States and abroad. For more information visit www.YatesPRO.com .
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another exciting edition of The Great American Senior Show. I'm your grey haired host, Sam Yates. Today Live from New York, you know, haven't you watch live from New York and Saturday Night Live and always wanted to say that? Well, now I get to say it because I have a special guest. today. My guest is the CEO of the Greater New York nursing services, Michael cogen. And, Michael, welcome to the program.Michael Kochen:
Thank you, Sam, I'm very excited to be with you today. Very excited to talk about expanding into the Florida market, and very much looking forward to serving the community.Sam Yates:
And the way that you're expanding into the Florida market is through a company here that the great American senior show is familiar with, because we have had them on in the past. And that is VIP America. So we want to congratulate you on that acquisition, and welcome to Florida. Thank you so much, Sam. Tell me a little bit about yourself. I always love starting my programs with a bit about our guests, because it really gets into the person that is in the spotlight. Tell us about yourself.Michael Kochen:
Sure, Sam well actually, as a fellow Floridian prior to joining the greater companies, I ran the day to day operations of a Miami based health care conglomerate, I was very lucky to have a unique perspective on Florida based healthcare solutions, as well as New York based and National Healthcare Solutions. Really, my passion is to leverage technology to improve processes and using automation to improve the efficiency and service our patients to the best of ourSam Yates:
ability. You know, that's sort of a strange twist there. You're a Florida native I am as well. But I also had quite a number of medical ventures in the urgent care sector up in the Fishkill, upper state areas of New York. And despite what a lot of people may think there are a lot of similarities in the people and the needs. So you know, I can definitely appreciate what you are what you're stating there. From your vantage, as a CEO, and the information technology focus that you have. Where do you see your company now VIP and greater? I noticed that you abbreviated that down. So if you don't mind, I'll use that as well. Where do you see the company's going forward? Here in Florida.Michael Kochen:
I think that VIP is an incredible opportunity for greater to provide and continue to provide the excellence compassion and integrity of care that we're used to with a greater family of companies, VIP has set the standard for nurse registry models in Florida. They've built an incredible legacy, the Collins family, everybody from Joan to jail to Ashley now has built a beautiful and incredible connection and bond with the communities that they serve. And we look forward to forwarding that within the Florida communities.Sam Yates:
One of the things that I did note in having some affiliation with VIP in the past and other health care providers for the senior segment, whether registry or agency, is they all seem to have that same underlying problem that everyone in the healthcare industry has right now. And that is a shortage of people solution or a partial solution for that as you come into the picture.Michael Kochen:
solution I can I can tell you that what we're trying to do. And let's Let's back up for a second. Obviously, it is a major issue. I couldn't agree with you more. nurses and caregivers are the bedrock of health care, they are our most valuable asset when it comes to providing the quality of care that we've become accustomed to. It's very difficult when you have half at least half of caregivers since 2020, either leaving or deciding whether to leave the workforce and so that creates the crunch that we're in currently, but providing new benefits, smart benefits, incentives, recruiting efforts, and so forth are really what we're trying to do here to mitigate what what has happened. It is a difficult situation to navigate. It really is. But if we provide certain certain benefits like mental health, well being wellness programs, we believe that that's really going to add value to what we can offer from a company perspective.Sam Yates:
I know that just recently, I was in Tallahassee, our Tallahassee state legislature began its session today. Two weeks ago, I was there in Tallahassee speaking to some of the representatives because we do have a good base of people who want to work in the home health care industry and have passed their testing procedure. is what the licensing backlog is just horrendous. Any hope on the horizon that you have seen? If not here for Florida? Can you bring people in from from the New York region.Michael Kochen:
So we're looking at all different opportunities. Obviously, we're assessing every need from the different regions that VIP provides and services patients in. But right now, it's difficult process, we really have not looked at the possibility of recruiting from other states to bring into Florida, the nurse shortage is nationwide. And so we're trying to make sure that we can maintain our continuity of service and all the areas that we do provide service in.Sam Yates:
And that leads right into my next question. VIP works in three separate regions, southeast Florida, the central region and the Southwest Florida region. And I could name the individual counties. But suffice to say that we're looking at three very different regions as far as demographics, and the the demographics of the patient, demographics of caregivers, demographics of patients, any one of those particular regions that UC is having a, a super focus from greater and your experience.Michael Kochen:
I think to give it a fair shot, we really want to look at all of the regions coming in, we really just took over at the beginning of the year, we really want to take a time to assess all the regions understand methodically and go through a process and really understand each one's individual needs. You mentioned demographics. I couldn't agree with you more there. There's stark, stark differences, polar opposites, all of them. And so there's incredible opportunity for us to expand where we're currently providing, and also look at different opportunities in different regions. We can look at the southeast region, further south towards Miami, Broward and Palm Beach, we can look at the Tampa region, which we're currently not servicing, and there's great opportunity in the northeast and on the Panhandle as well.Sam Yates:
Yes, I'm a former board member for the Senior Services Network serving Palm Beach all the way down into the Miami area. And even here on the East Coast where I'm located. The demographics once you as you well know get to West Palm Beach, South and beyond. It's totally different. So that's got to be, you know, that's got to be something that as it sorts all out for our for our listeners that may not know we, Michael and I are, are both Florida natives. So we understand the migration that has happened seasonally. And with COVID. That is now in many cases happen permanently. The 95 Corridor typically migrates to Southeast Florida, the central Ohio Midwestern corridor 75 corridor, migrates to Southwest Florida, and then Central Florida ends up being a hybrid mix of everyone plus those who have tried to escape from South Florida. So it becomes you know, Central Florida is sort of one of the the melting pots of everything. So you've got your work cut out for you in keeping up with that. So I think it's going to be a big challenge with VIP. Now you mentioned that it's family owned family operated. Jill, her daughter Ashley, Joan Collins, which is not the same as the other Joan Collins, but you know, they are figureheads have been in our communities in the various regions forever. I just want to say thank you from all of us that know them in the communities for maintaining their presence during your purchase and your operations as you move here into Florida. Sure, of course. Okay, I'm going to step back a little bit because I still once in a while put that reporter hat on, you mentioned perhaps moving into areas south of the Treasure Coast. I know their licensure is into Palm Beach County. Does that mean into counties south of Palm Beach County,Michael Kochen:
we're looking at different opportunities. I think that expansion geographically is one of the opportunities but also as I mentioned before expansion within the current regions is also an incredible opportunity. There are certain areas of the current licensure that I can argue are being underserved and and we can really increase the visibility of VIP America the name by increasing our marketing efforts, our recruiting efforts. There are incredible opportunities for the currently service areas as well.Sam Yates:
We do have here on the Treasure Coast, a major milestone with a multi million dollar expansion expansion of one of the nursing colleges here your next trip down here, I'd be glad to introduce you to the head of the college that is doing that significant expansion, a longtime friend of mine. And I think that is perhaps an opportunity for them to get to know you, we the local people, no disrespect. And that's not the reason for saying it. But in many of these institutions, they want to know the top of the pyramid. So on your next visit here, a plan a lunch engagement, and I'll do the honor of making the introduction for you.Michael Kochen:
I would love to thank you so much for the offer. Sam,Sam Yates:
Southwest Florida. I wanted to jump there for a moment because we all know that right now, depending on when this particular episode begins live streaming. We are less than 90 days, probably around 80 days by the time this began streaming from the start of hurricane season, Southwest Florida, devastated by hurricanes, a lot of the population there had to evacuate, and many of them were not able to come back. Is that a significant challenge? Both getting people to an area that has been devastated by Hurricane as well as attending to the needs. And do you have? Or have you had the opportunity to take a look at their simpler, comprehensive emergency management plan and say, This is who we are and what we can do?Michael Kochen:
Absolutely. It's a very serious issue. As I mentioned, as a fellow Floridian I lived through Hurricane Andrew, I've lived through many different hurricanes that were devastating to the area's we, we had a very tough time as everyone did. During the hurricane, I was very proud of our team. In speaking to Ashley and Jill and understanding how they manage this because it was previous to greater coming on and taking the ownership. They did a fantastic job of keeping in touch with the patients with the contractors really understanding the needs, even talking with some of the patients through the storm, as the winds were howling outside, and making sure that they had everything that they needed to be in place. So I'm extremely proud of their efforts. And I know that they have extremely rigorous protocols, Storm protocols that have been written there. CEMP is exemplary and very much looking forward to continuing to work on those protocols and plans as we have to do that as Floridians. It's something that we have to deal with. It's just nature.Sam Yates:
You know, I will venture just a comment that I have seen their sim for all of the regions and and they are they're top notch. One of the things that we are experiencing for Southwest Florida and I say we because I wear as you and I chatted before the program, a lot of different hats. One of the other hats that I wear is that of Board of Director for the Gold Coast Builders Association, I understand the building industry. I also work with the Florida engineering society with a series of podcasts. So I understand the engineering side of the industries. But those two together, and we are jointly working on some activities in southwest Florida to create and dedicate a park that will be part of an Education Complex, not as a large building, but as a complex of educational resources to keep our Southwest Florida residents up to date, in particular on storm surge, because that was the big killer with Hurricane Ian. So as that happens in the next couple of months, I will keep you appraised of that because I know that there could be some opportunities for I'm putting out my hook to get as many people involved as possible because I think the more people we can get involved, especially for our senior population, perhaps the more lives we can save, if we have another similar incident to hurricane Ian,Michael Kochen:
I think it's a great hook to put out. It's a very important subject matter to talk about. And the more people know, the better prepared they will be.Sam Yates:
Alright, I'm volunteering myself way too much here because on the southwest coast, they do have a new CEO for the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida. I have had a couple of podcasts sessions with her wonderful woman. So if your next trip includes a trip to Southwest Florida, I will handle that introduction. Again. I think it's important that all of us bear a responsibility for our senior citizens. Many times they are at a state where they can't do it themselves anymore. So kudos for you for stepping in. Thank you Sam. Tell us about greater.Michael Kochen:
So greater. Greater is a family of companies and we provide many different services throughout full verticals in the healthcare space. Just to give you a few different examples of a couple of our divisions, we provide private duty nursing services. These are our most ill patients that require 24/7 around the clock care. These are cared for by licensed practical nurses by registered nurses with a full clinical oversight. We also provide a home care solution, a home care suite solution for people that just need assistance with their daily activities, cooking going to the supermarket bathing simple activities. And so we provide that we have a concierge care division where we provide companionship from every skill level from nurses to CNAs to H Ha's in a hospital setting or even during a transition to home from the hospital. We also have a durable medical equipment company that provides all of the products in our patient's home and other patients that may not be greater patients are DME patients for us. And so we focus on respiratory ventilators see paps, we also do diabetic supplies, everything sent directly to the door or service within the home to the patients. So we have an extensive suite of services at greater. We pride ourselves on our compassion, our excellence and and our integrity of providing the continuity and care for our patients. And I haveSam Yates:
to say, you know, being a reporter, always a recorder, I did a little background and and I will, you know, raise my hand and testify to the the credibility and the value that greater is providing because I saw a lot of that I saw it on your website, I talked to people about the organization. It is a top notch organization. And I think that also speaks highly of what you're doing by moving into Florida. So congratulations on that. Thank you, Sam. I appreciate that. Is Florida expansion. And I want to come back to the DMV to is Florida expansion really something that has a bright future from from your perspective?Michael Kochen:
Absolutely. We look at Florida as just the first stepping stone of us leaving the Northeast region and beginning to expand across the country. You know, Florida is really a no brainer. It's the number one real estate. It's a state where we can really focus on the values that we we preach here ecrater and instill them within VIP. It's not that difficult because as I mentioned, the Collins family has built a beautiful bond and legacy with the community. So we're really just adding to what they've already built. They've set an incredible base. And we see this as an incredible opportunity for us at Greater to have partnered and found this company, this family which I have a great relationship with, I'm able to pick up the phone and call Joan and just consult on different matters. She's a fantastic human being is you know as well Ashley who continues to be involved in the day to day operations. It's really a fantastic meeting of the minds so that we can forward the care for our seniors in Florida.Sam Yates:
All right, but for our for my listeners, they know from past programs where I've talked about VIP, I can never talk about VIP without failing to mention Ashley's extended chicken family.Michael Kochen:
I firsthand that was given some information a few weeks ago over lunch, where she was explaining to me about the chicken coop and all of that and it was a very interesting conversation as somebody who is not so so versed in agriculture and in chicken hatching. It was a very informative, enlightening conversation. Oh,Sam Yates:
please don't ask details of the story of finding out the head was a rooster because it it did not have a happy ending for the rooster. Absolutely. But, you know I look at everything that is going on. And with that expansion goal. One of the things that I have had discussions with VIP in the past was looking at that land bridge from Central Florida region to West Coast. There is a logical Polk County connection there and Lakeland Polk County is probably with Amazon and all the other development that is going on each of those families that brings workers into the area as a mom and dad or they themselves are now getting back into the workforce. So Hint Hint, that might make a very logical progression to close the circle if you will. Yeah, back to DMA. I obviously I follow a lot of things going on in the medical industry. Have you seen Have a an impact and if so, hurdles to overcome in the DME world from from your, your perspective of bringing products to market.Michael Kochen:
I think DME is an incredible opportunity to connect with patients. It allows us into their home through the products. So we're already in their home when it comes to servicing the patient for all their needs, whether it's through greater in the Northeast or through VIP in Florida. And so allowing us into the home by providing their respiratory equipment or their diabetic supplies, incontinence supplies, you name it, we're able to create that bond and further that continuity of care so that everything is under one roof and they feel comfortable with who is providing those products and care to them.Sam Yates:
hospital readmissions, it is a major issue on one of the council's that I sit in Central Florida, the Brevard Health Care Coalition, we meet on a regular basis in determining ways to reduce hospital readmissions. That topic also comes up under my purview as a member of a builder's organization because the two sometimes marry together to have a continuum of care at home, the aging in place. How do you address aging in place from your perspective,Michael Kochen:
this fits right into our greater ethos, which is extending family life at home. And so actually our whole goal and purpose, AQ Raider and what we're trying to instill at VIP is really studies have shown that if seniors are at home, they're surrounded by their loved ones, their friends, they're in their element. Mentally, physically, they do much better than being in a hospital or in a facility setting. And so really, our focus is to continue that compassion and excellence in our care to maintain people at home seniors at home, feeling comfortable, able to hang out with their grandkids able to go to a baseball game, and not feel that they are just counting down the minutes. This is really not what we're what we're going for, we really want to extend people's life and the quality of their life.Sam Yates:
Notice how I managed to weave that all together to get us back to a good circle there four or greater? Absolutely did my homework. So I have a question, will you be able to come back for a another program at some point in the future,Michael Kochen:
I would love to I would love to come back talk about our expansion. Talk about what we've learned in the months and years that we've taken over VIP and where we where we are as a company and where we are as a community because it's all tied into one. At the end of the day, we're really just one team of people, yourself included with all of the roles that you play and that you've talked about, that we're just trying to push the cart in the right direction, we're trying to really make things better, be proactive instead of reactive, give the tools that are necessary to our seniors, so that they can really excel in the beautiful years of their life. Not really that so they can really enjoy it.Sam Yates:
And I'm often put in the spotlight because I believe that I truly believe that the seniors do need care. I'm going to be one one day despite the the slow, Greg it's rapidly approaching from the inside as as an aging process. But you know, we all will need care at one day. And those of us who are doing what we are doing now are building the foundation for the care for the future. So, Michael, I want to thank you very much for all that you do.Michael Kochen:
Thank you, Sam, I appreciate it. And thank you so much for shedding light on all of the things that you do as well.Sam Yates:
Much appreciated. For our listeners. I want to remind you that the greater American senior show has an ongoing series of updates with our Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. He takes a special look at things that are going on within the senior community. Right now we are featuring him on the Florida Business Forum. We'll have him back here. Now we're in the Edit process of having him back here. But if you want updates on some of the scams that are going on in Florida right now aimed at senior citizens, check out the Florida Business Forum Podcast. Sheriff IB is on there right now and he has some good news for you about how to avoid those scams. So, Michael, thank you for being here on the podcast. I hope it was a pleasant experience.Michael Kochen:
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sam.Sam Yates:
And we look forward to having you back again in the future. As I am your gray haired Host Sam Yates Have a great day everybody