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The vision of cofounders Dr. Jeffrey Schor and Steven Katz to form PM Pediatrics stemmed from a shared entrepreneurial passion, disillusionment with the healthcare system and a belief that they could make a significant impact in the way acute medical care is delivered to children. The seeds of this partnership were planted years ago when the two were roommates at Amherst College. Jeffrey went on to medical school at New York Medical College, and later completed his residency and fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Steven received his MBA from Stanford University and became a management consultant at Bain & Company and then an officer of Kaiser Associates. Eventually, when the former roommates settled down with their young families in the same Long Island town, the vision for PM Pediatrics began to take root.
As the Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Associate Chair of Emergency Medicine at New York Hospital-Queens (NYHQ), Jeffrey established a distinct emergency department for pediatric patients, grew the number of pediatric emergency visits from 10,000 per year to more than 25,000 and helped grow the entire emergency department to over 100,000 visits. During that same time period, Steven, in his role as management consultant, gained valuable experience in many different facets of the healthcare industry, including medical equipment and supplies, pharmaceuticals and healthcare delivery models. He saw firsthand how the institutional delivery of care was the weakest part of the entire healthcare system.
In his ten years at NYHQ, Jeffrey recognized that while pediatric patients get far superior medical care from physicians and nurses who are pediatric specialists, a hospital setting comes with many drawbacks in the delivery of that care. The process was inefficient and the environment can be intimidating. Children waited far too long to be seen, stayed longer than necessary and often left dissatisfied. It also was apparent that the majority of pediatric hospital visits were not for life-threatening emergencies. Rather, the problems could easily and safely be managed in an outpatient setting, provided this setting had the right clinicians and was appropriately equipped. But such places did not exist and parents had no alternative to the ER, especially when their pediatrician’s office was closed.
Because of these frustrations, Jeffrey sought to learn more about the “business” of delivering excellent care, eventually receiving an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business. He also spent many hours discussing his concerns with Steven, who at the time was Managing Director of Strategic Planning and Corporate Development at The Topps Company, Inc., where he was general manager of a successful business that he created. Steven’s entrepreneurial success coupled with Jeffrey’s discouragement with healthcare delivery systems provided fertile ground for that “aha” moment: “Maybe we can work together to form a business that can really make an impact on healthcare services for children.”
Steven had the realization that whenever his kids had a serious medical issue and their pediatrician was unavailable, Jeffrey typically provided the care in his house. The Katz family was certainly not unique – many people in Jeffrey’s community sought his care in order to avoid a trip to the emergency department. This realization, along with Jeffrey’s recognition that most ER visits for children were not true emergencies, made the concept of an “outpatient ER” for children very appealing. Over the next couple of years, the two planned the strategy and operational details of a medical service company dedicated to children and young adults, with convenient hours 365-days a year, as a legitimate alternative to the emergency department. This practice needed to be accessible, welcoming, of the highest quality, and service oriented. Every analysis pointed in the right direction and in 2005, PM Pediatrics opened the doors to its first location in Syosset, New York.