MagnaCare, a leader in self-insurance and healthcare services, hosted a “Labor Appreciation Lunch &
Learn” forum on Wednesday, September 14th, at the Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The program agenda featured speakers Simeon Schindelman, CEO, MagnaCare, and Mario Cilento, President, New York State AFL-CIO, and two panel discussions.The presentation began with an introduction by Michael Tufo, Senior Vice President, Account Management. Tufo has been at MagnaCare for 14 years, and brings experience in operations, project management and process involvement. He strategizes with clients on their goals and initiatives. Tufo thanked the assembled crowd for “what they do for the labor community.” “We understand the unique nature of labor unions – every benefit plan, every member – and labor is the cornerstone of our company,” he said. “Our main focus is maintaining benefits for union members. It’s not just a job – it’s our passion,” he added. Tufo went on to speak about how much has changed in the last five to ten years, and said the program would address solutions that can be brought to bear on current issues.
Next, Schindelman spoke, saying he had been with MagnaCare for a little over one and a half years, and previously, in the industry for much longer. “It’s been an enormous privilege to be in this business for more than 30 years,” he said. “At MagnaCare, what’s important to me is the highly personal relationship of this company with its clients.” He went on, “For 25 years, this has been an important company in this field.” He introduced four topics of importance. Firstly, the team at MagnaCare, which he said was “action-oriented.” Secondly, the company’s commitment to labor unions that can be seen in its actions. Thirdly, taking a look inside the company, and fourthly, a “clear articulation of the challenges of health care and solutions.” He said the challenges were mainly “cost, quality, complexity, and preserving healthcare benefits into the future for working people.” “The future is now,” he stressed, and added that goals were to lower costs, improve quality, and reduce complexity.
Next, Schindelman introduced Cilento, saying he had “an incredible track record, a long history of fighting for working men and women.” Cilento began by speaking about the importance of the event and participating in dialogue, “particularly at this time, when the issue of healthcare is so polarized in Washington, and rhetoric outweighs policy.” “There’s not a lot of true discussion of how we provide quality and affordable healthcare for all citizens of this country.” He stressed the importance of relationships of all kinds, saying the best are “built on mutual trust, respect and appreciation of each others’ points of view.” He said that, especially in difficult times, knowing how to compromise is vital. Of the NYS AFL-CIO, he said, “We represent 2.5 million union members, and 3,000 unions, 24% of the workforce, and every zip code in the state.” But he added, “The numbers don’t mean anything unless we work together.” He spoke of several upcoming challenges, including looming Right-to-Work bills, and the vote in November on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention. Unions are opposed because of the threat of major changes to union rights, including pensions, workers comp, unemployment insurance, the 8-hour workday, and the right to collective
bargaining, all which are currently in the constitution. Cilento then spoke about his father’s history in labor, and how his entire family was impacted positively because of this through generations. Cilento’s daughters now have contributions to their college funds because of his father’s annuities. “So we strive, not just for today, but for tomorrow,” he said.
Next, there was a Q & A. Tufo asked Cilento what we can do regarding the Constitutional Convention, and Cilento said getting the word out to vote “No”, by mailings or social media is crucial. Schindelman was asked about “Create,” a new product, that he said enables collaborations with the healthcare system across New York and New Jersey to get savings. An audience member brought up the Local 3/Spectrum strike, and called for all to support the strikers in any way possible, including rallies and social media. Local 3 is currently known for its benefits, which are under attack. In response to another question, Schindelman spoke about how data is now being updated directly from new providers, as information is constantly changing.
The two panels then convened. The first, “Minimizing Cost, Maximizing Quality,” featured Carmilla Tan, SVP Analytics, Rob Cetti, President, Network, and Dr. Bartley Bryt, Chief Medical Officer. Tan spoke about
rolling out enhanced reporting of data, and the increased use of urgent care facilities vs. primary care. Cetti spoke of efforts to obtain lower rates, and rollback of higher rates. Bryt talked about cost reduction and improving patient experience. The second panel, “Excellence in Service and Technology,” had speakers Brian Murray, Chief Operations Officer, and Lavender Rouzier, VP Account Management, and focused on the importance of client relationships. Rouzier shared some of her experiences in her 14 years at the company, and Murray stressed the importance on having the most effective operations, and getting out into the community to meet clients, as well as the accuracy and efficiency of the company’s technology.
The event came to a close with Tufo giving a check for $7,500 to Michael Cooney, Special Projects Director of the United Way, for hurricane relief in Florida and Texas, who thanked him profusely, saying, “Labor and the United Way have been partners since the United Way’s inception.”