His job title at The New Jewish Home might read Chief Financial Officer (CFO), but for Mark Weiss, finance is only one of the items on his plate.
“After about three or four months at the organization, I was given responsibility for some of our operations,” Weiss explains. “We have two large nursing homes that account for probably about seventy-five percent of our revenue, and that operational responsibility went to me, in addition to my CFO responsibilities.”
Within a year, the New York City nonprofit’s remaining lines of business became Weiss’s responsibility, as well. Today, he advises on finance and operational matters alike, with the end goal of helping The New Jewish Home achieve its patient-centric mission: “To empower older adults to enhance purpose and wellbeing through a portfolio of innovative health care services.”
When Mark Weiss first joined The New Jewish Home in July of 2019, he already had substantial operational experience under his belt from his time as a nursing home administrator in the state of Ohio. “I’m in a unique position because I’m able to look at things from both a finance and an operational perspective,” he says. “For instance, I understand that by spending more money on certain things up front, I can create potential savings down the line when it comes to mitigating risk and eliminating long-term exposures.”
His ability to consider the organization holistically, instead of narrowly focusing on its bottom line, gives Weiss an edge when offering support or guidance to fellow members of the executive team. It also comes in handy on projects geared toward strengthening the finance function.
“One of my major initiatives since the get-go has been to improve upon the audit process that we’ve had in place for a number of years,” Weiss says. “We’ve made big strides in that area. Audits are getting completed sooner, with fewer—if any—adjustments.”
Although his expectations are high, Weiss strives to empower his colleagues and set them up for success. He maintains regular touchpoints with staff members, especially those in need of additional mentoring in the face of a new challenge. “I want to know that we’re spending our money wisely, getting a good return on our investments, and processing things appropriately,” he says. “I’ve been in the healthcare industry for about twenty-eight years, so I can bring the benefits of that to people who have less experience or who have not experienced what I have.”
Even with his background, Weiss still encounters challenges of his own, including those of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, city and state regulatory hurdles, and talent attraction and retention. The latter have only increased in difficulty amid the Great Resignation, which has hit the healthcare space particularly hard.
“We are people taking care of people. We cannot do what we do without people, but people were affected by COVID to the degree that they no longer wanted to work in healthcare,” Weiss says. “The Great Resignation has been a big challenge. Our operating costs have gone up, while our revenues have not matched that increase in cost, so it has put a financial strain and an operational strain on the organization.”
Mark Weiss minimized the aforementioned flexors by prioritizing hiring and leveraging technology solutions to streamline staff scheduling. “Our focus is to spend where we need to, make sure that there is no waste where possible, be as efficient as we can with the resources that we have, generate business for the organization, and deliver the care that we’re here to provide,” he summarizes.
Vestian’s Executive Managing Director Brad Armstrong says, “Working with Mark the last twelve months has been the perfect balance of him deferring to Vestian’s real estate skill sets and expertise, while driving us to optimal cost savings for New Jewish Home. Mark has provided clear understanding and specific direction for us in support NJH’s balance sheet goals to eliminate underutilized facilities. While still in progress, we should successfully reduce $1 million in year-over-year expense. Mark has led both the Vestian and NJH teams to navigate complex legal, operational, and financial challenges to reduce the footprint by 25,000 in 2022 and plans to achieve similar reductions in 2023.”
Indeed, patient care is at the heart of his team’s work. “The mission of The New Jewish Home is to take care of seniors in New York,” he confirms. “Success for the organization is to provide the care that is needed at the time it is needed, whether it is in a patient’s home through our home care services or in our nursing homes through either short- or long-term care.”
Weiss cites The New Jewish Home’s status as an approved COVID-only facility at an earlier stage of the pandemic as an example of the organization’s efforts to make good on its mission. For his part, he is committed to carrying forward those efforts into the future.
“We’ve been around for over one hundred seventy years in New York City,” says Mark Weiss. “My role is to work with the executive leadership team to do the best we can to make sure that we’re in a position to continue to care for New Yorkers.”