Economic Outlook 2013: Money & Medicine

Opt in to health
January 6, 2013
Are You Ready to Do the Armadillo Dash?
January 6, 2013

Annual B/CS Chamber Conference to Highlight Healthcare Growth

by Amber Cassady

When looked at together, medical-related news from the opening of new hospitals and health districts to the addition of new research and industry partners in the Research Valley and growth among the Texas A&M University System’s many healthcare related entities, what emerges is a picture of a segment of the region’s economy that is poised to grow the local economy in 2013. The scope of that impact and creating a roadmap for where the local economy is headed in 2013 is the purpose of this year’s B/CS Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Conference. 
Seating is expected to sell out at the College Station Hilton Hotel for the January 23 conference as panels representing local governance, regional medical and research entities, and commercial and residential real estate trends will all impact the Brazos Valley economy in 2013.

How to Register for the Economic Outlook Conference

Visit the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce website at www.bcschamber.org or call (979) 260-5200 for EOC reservations.

Seating is limited and last year’s EOC conference sold out.

The event is open to the public, but preferred pricing is available to Chamber of Commerce members. 

Individual tickets for Chamber of Commerce members are $75; price for non-members is $90. Tables of eight are available for $650.

Anyone interested in joining the Chamber to take advantage of the preferred member pricing may call (979) 260-5200 for details.

Annual B/CS Chamber Conference to Highlight Healthcare Growth

by Amber Cassady

When looked at together, medical-related news from the opening of new hospitals and health districts to the addition of new research and industry partners in the Research Valley and growth among the Texas A&M University System’s many healthcare related entities, what emerges is a picture of a segment of the region’s economy that is poised to grow the local economy in 2013. The scope of that impact and creating a roadmap for where the local economy is headed in 2013 is the purpose of this year’s B/CS Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Outlook Conference. 
Seating is expected to sell out at the College Station Hilton Hotel for the January 23 conference as panels representing local governance, regional medical and research entities, and commercial and residential real estate trends will all impact the Brazos Valley economy in 2013.

How to Register for the Economic Outlook Conference

Visit the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce website at www.bcschamber.org or call (979) 260-5200 for EOC reservations.

Seating is limited and last year’s EOC conference sold out.

The event is open to the public, but preferred pricing is available to Chamber of Commerce members. 

Individual tickets for Chamber of Commerce members are $75; price for non-members is $90. Tables of eight are available for $650.

Anyone interested in joining the Chamber to take advantage of the preferred member pricing may call (979) 260-5200 for details.

SESSION I PREVIEW

Joey Dunn
Deputy City Manager – Community Service, City of Bryan

The City of Bryan is “excited to be in the game in the biocorridor,” says Joey Dunn, noting that west side infrastructure improvements that began in the Nineties with the Traditions development have positioned the city well for further growth around the Texas A&M Health Science Center and biomedical corridor. “People don’t typically get interested in things like [sewage treatment plants],” says Dunn, “but development can’t happen without investment and that will come online in 2013 along with a new BTU substation. Together, those are very large developments. That’s what the city should be doing: electric and wastewater. It does a lot to open corridors for development. It will serve to help Hwy. 47 come alive.”

Part of Dunn’s overview at the conference will pinpoint other growth areas from 2012 that portend continued positive developments including positive “bumps” in numbers including retail and office growth as well as new hotel construction. Sales tax numbers for 2013 should also increase with the projected opening of the new Wal-Mart in west Bryan. Dunn notes that recent permit applications for businesses planning to open across the street from the new Wal-Mart location include both retail and restaurants.

Other areas Dunn will highlight at the conference include continued growth in the Downtown area; medical expansions including a new Scott & White clinic in Bryan; and improvements in the medical district around St. Joseph Hospital.

Bob Colwell
Executive Director of Planning and Development, City of College Station

Colwell anticipates updating attendees to the Economic Outlook Conference about the city of College Station’s effort in biocorridor as well as effort associated with the medical district in and around The Med and the Scott & White hospital. As for general economic impact for the city in 2013, Colwell will highlight the efforts of the city in the past few months in creating a economic development master plan he describes as an “overall plan to economic development” including aligning current focus with the master plan and having someone from outside come and assess strengths and weaknesses to “make sure we are on the right path.”

By the time of the conference in January, Colwell anticipates being able to elaborate on two tools the city council is considering in the medical district: a tax increment reinvestment zone; and a municipal management district. Colwell will also offer updates on the Rock Prairie bridge and Baron Road extension as part of an update on infrastructure updates planned for 2013.

Todd McDaniel
President/CEO, Research Valley Partnership

Todd McDaniel says the focus of this year’s Economic Outlook Conference is both relevant and an opportunity to provide pertinent information to Chamber members and individuals in the community about the impact of medical care and research on the local economy.

“I am optimistic to see a greater level of patient services here in the Research Valley,” says McDaniel, who says he will focus his remarks at the conference on specifics about the continued growth and expansion of life and health science services in addition to the Research Valley’s One Health Plus Biocorridor. “I will share how the Research Valley will be a leader and epicenter for Texas’ emerging biotech industry.”

The Research Valley Partnership focuses on raising external awareness on health care changes on a broad scope as well as locally. “One of the cool things is that we can pursue economic development, and at the same time, impact life and well-being,” he notes.

SESSION II PREVIEW

Tom Jackson
CEO, The Med, College Station Medical Center

Tom Jackson’s goal speaking at the Economic Outlook Conference is to help attendees understand the economic impact of healthcare locally, noting that the quality of healthcare in the Brazos Valley is outstanding for the community’s size.

“The average labor force rate in healthcare is above the median hourly rate nationally,” says Jackson. “Employees are trained and paid well. Healthcare is a good industry sector because it provides good paying skill jobs and can bring prestige to the community. On top of that, healthcare is always needed. While it can’t stand alone because it is a service industry, it adds to the diversity of the economic base.

Jackson also will outline new technology and healthcare services plus upcoming expansions by The MED including the College Station Orthopedic Center and Aerofit Health & Wellness, a partnership between the College Station Medical Center and Aerofit Health & Fitness. At nearly 40,000 square feet, this $8.5 million investment is the only health and wellness center of its magnitude in the community and will be the first freestanding orthopedic facility in the region. “This is a unique concept that will allow employers and those using the facility for its services to take more accountability for their health,” notes Jackson.

Odette Bolano
Acting President and CEO, Bryan’s St. Joseph Health System

Odette Bolano will address some of the issues not yet resolved in Washington that could affect healthcare on a national level. “The great unknowns are Sequestration and the Affordable Care Act,” she says. “Depending on what happens in Washington, and how aggressively we pursue cost reduction or insurance expansion, it could put tremendous pressure on healthcare providers. Communities will need to also understand how to take care of those who are poor and vulnerable, especially if there is no expansion of the Medicaid program in Texas.

“Regardless of the pace of implementing the Affordable Care Act, health care, as an industry, must move to be more efficient in delivering care, meaning cost must go down while we improve quality and outcomes. That’s our job as healthcare providers. On the public side, what people must understand is that as the model of healthcare changes from caring for the sick to keeping people healthy, their doctor can only control so much of their health status. Every one of us must be responsible for our health.”

Bolano also expresses hope that those in attendance will walk away with a better understanding of the exceptional health care in the community. “The new models of healthcare contain ways that the high cost of healthcare can be managed, but we will all have to work and accept responsibility to move towards wellness, prevention, better coordinated care, in order to achieve quality care across the continuum of healthcare.”

William L. Rayburn, MD
Chief Medical Officer College Station Region, Scott & White Healthcare

“Being a physician, I’m most interested in promoting efficient high quality healthcare delivery and making the Brazos Valley a destination for world class care—-this means collaboration among all healthcare entities and participation in medical education and research,” says Dr. William Rayburn, who is a practicing OB/Gyn in addition to his role as chief medical officer. The opening of the new Scott & White Hospital in College Station in 2013 will bring 40-50 additional physicians to the community. For Scott &White Healthcare, the College Station Region currently includes 125 providers in numerous clinics, a group practice in Brenham, and the 60-bed Scott &White Hospital in Brenham.

“Scott & White is blessed to be one of many good healthcare providers locally,” says Rayburn. “I believe good competition raises the bar of service and the patients benefit.”

Moving forward in 2013 with the Affordable Care Act, healthcare delivery will be changing, he adds, with more people having access to healthcare. “One thing that is becoming apparent is both hospitals and providers are realizing there is significant waste in our healthcare system. The only way to eliminate the waste is through aligning providers – physicians – with the hospitals, reducing the variability in care, and providing an electronic platform to monitor quality and value. Like many other industries, standardization of accepted processes of care is key.”

“Healthcare in the U.S. developed as cottage industry, and we moving away from that into integrated networks,” says Rayburn. “Scott & White is on the forefront of that integrated model as the rest of country is moving toward that,” he notes. “Consumers and residents will be well served.”

Dr. Sam Shomaker
Dean of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

Research is the source of innovation in clinical care, says Dr. Sam Shomaker, of the importance of working with the expanding entities within the Research Valley and local biocorridor. “It’s important for students to realize how new knowledge gets generated. At the same time it inculcates in them a desire to keep at the cutting edge of their field, a very important factor throughout their practice career. That habit is important to incorporate in students.

By partnering with future growth in the biocorridor, the College of Medicine is poised to collaborate to create even more future expansion. “[Research] has been possible for an extended period,” Shomaker notes. “More students are now taking advantage than has been the case. We are looking at this as way to help catalyze additional biomedical research activity at the College of Medicine, and in doing so, create more economic development.

“It absolutely attracts faculty,” notes Shomaker, of projected growth in the coming year. “Our faculty are looking forward to new outlets in research funding and commercialization and working with industry partners.”

SESSION III PREVIEW

Jim Gaines
Research Economist at the Texas A&M Research Center

Economic Outlook Conference participant surveys consistently request real estate forecasting as part of the annual event. Jim Gaines, a research economist at the Texas A&M Research Center, will be speaking for the fourth time at the EOC during the third session (10:40-12:10). Gaines remarks and statistics about the economy and real estate trends and will focus on the housing market’s contribution to an economy’s success. He says he keeps coming back to speak at the conference each year because he is grateful for the opportunity to hear what is going on in his own backyard and get to know people locally, a rarity for an economist who speaks more often out-of-state. 

This year, Gaines will be focusing on the housing market by sharing statistics about how it has been a good offset to the loss of jobs in a growing sector like Bryan/College Station. “When a house gets built, a lot gets bought by local suppliers creating a lot of economic activity. This is why new construction is so important to an economy.” Gaines stresses that the housing market holds national importance as well.

“The housing market will be important to get the overall national economy moving again. It is an important cog in the machine for the national economy to get back on its feet.” Gaines says his job will be to give the “thousand-foot view” on the 2013 economy, while other speakers will be covering more specific aspects of medicine and the economy.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER PREVIEW

Tom Kowalski
President, Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, Austin

Key pieces drive the building of a life sciences industry, says Tom Kowalski, who will offer perspective on how Bryan/College Station and The Research Valley compare in those key elements to other cities competing for emerging biotechnology companies and grant funding during his keynote address at the Economic Outlook Conference.

“First of all, what you have in your community is all the elements of building a successful life science cluster. So how do you prepare? What you’re building is an all-star cast of researchers and facilities and have focused various efforts – including the vaccine grant and G-Con – in helping you build a partnerships with major pharma.

“You are emerging as a model that will change the landscape of life science,” says Kowalski. “Houston has, but what you all [in B/CS] are focusing on – two cities, universities – will have lasting impact on the whole life science industry.”

Kowalski notes that research dollars and innovative companies were going to the east and west coast, but coordinated efforts within Bryan/College Station have reversed that trend. And, notes Kowalski, “It’s a perfect storm of all the elements … a recognized industry cluster, state workforce funding and skills” along with regional cooperation among the cities, university and county – and support from leaders in Austin.

“The next step,” says Kowalski, “is the community,” a topic he will expand on at the conference. “It’s a master plan – community, county, all to come together to build a strategy” for future growth.

2013 Economic Outlook Conference Schedule
January 23

Session I (8:10 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.) 

Joey Dunn, Deputy City Manager – Community Service, City of Bryan
Bob  Cowell, Executive Director of Planning and Development, City of College Station
Todd McDaniel, President/CEO, Research Valley Partnership

Session II, Moderated Q&A (9:25 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.)

Tom Jackson, CEO, The Med, College Station Medical Center
Odette Bolano, Acting President and CEO, Bryan’s St. Joseph Health System
William L. Rayburn, MD, Chief Medical Officer College Station Region, Scott & White Healthcare
Sam Shomaker, MD, Dean of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine

Session III (10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.)

“Economy/real estate trends,” Dr. Jim Gaines, Research Economist at Texas A&M Real Estate Center

Luncheon & Keynote Speaker (12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.)

“The Economic Impact of the Bioscience Industry,” Tom Kowalski, President, Texas Healthcare Bioscience Institute (THBI) Austin