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Feature Story: A coronavirus conversation for the HRE space

InterFace webinar panelists discuss COVID-19’s impact on the industry

By John B. Mugford

The light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel for healthcare providers could be pent-up demand for elective surgeries. And for HRE investors, it might be a greater willingness on the part of cash-strapped systems to monetize their real estate assets. (Photo courtesy of BJC HealthCare)

“Necessity really is the mother of invention.”

Lorie Damon, who leads Cushman & Wakefield’s Healthcare Practice Group, reiterated the well-known proverb while moderating a webinar on April 14 focused on how health systems and companies involved in healthcare real estate (HRE) are adjusting to navigating the coronavirus crisis.

Organized by the InterFace Conference Group, which is part of Atlanta-based France Media Inc., the webinar was titled, “The Short- and Long-term Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare and Medical Office Real Estate.”

Ms. Damon most likely felt compelled to use the “mother of invention” phrase as she listened to the webinar panelists – who represented health systems, an HRE development and acquisitions firm, and an HRE firm that designs and plans healthcare facilities – talk about the how their organizations and those involved in the healthcare sector are dealing with the crisis.

“It is no exaggeration to describe this as unprecedented, unique, unheard of, difficult and challenging,” she said at the outset. “This really tests all of our vocabularies for how to describe the current situation. It’s also created significant strain of course on all of our healthcare providers in terms of staffing, operations, financial stresses, and yet healthcare is essential right now, and providers and their real estate partners must continue to perform at  exceptionally high levels in order to guide us all through the pandemic.”

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