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Feature Story: Health system execs ponder post-pandemic plans

For third-party firms, relationships are the key to winning business, they say

By John B. Mugford

The May 12 InterFace “What’s the Outlook for Hospital & Healthcare System Real Estate Coming Out of COVID?” panel discussion included (clockwise from the upper left): Vic Schmerbeck of Emerus, Peter Volas of Cleveland Clinic, Mark Curtis of Prisma Health, Pam Stoyanoff of Methodist Health System and moderator David Park of DG Consulting. (HREI™ photo)

There is certainly plenty of speculation in healthcare real estate (HRE) about whether health systems will – as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic – be more open to tapping into third-party firms to own and manage the medical office buildings (MOBs) they occupy.

Instead of having to speculate, however, David Park, principal of Charlotte, N.C.-based DG Consulting LLC and a former real estate executive with Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Novant Health, recently asked four health system executives the question himself.

Their answers, as has been the case for years, varied, with many factors coming into play. Mr. Park was the moderator of InterFace Conference Group’s recent Healthcare Real Estate Conference, held virtually May 12-13, 2021. The panel session was titled, “What’s the Outlook for Hospital & Healthcare System Real Estate Coming Out of COVID?”

Peter Volas, senior director of real estate with Cleveland Clinic, which operates 38.5 million square feet of space, said that although the 18-hospital system owns about 78 percent of its portfolio and prefers to own its on-campus MOBs, “I really think

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