It may seem surprising, but the truth is that this is the first blog that I have written in 2022. We have experienced very intense months at the Ribera healthcare group since practically the start of the year. Together with the challenges of the healthcare sector and the effects on the Covid pandemic, which are still being felt this year in our hospitals, we have also had the passing away of Michael Neidorff, the Chairman and CEO of Centene Corporation, the main Ribera shareholder, on 7th April. A few months earlier, he had announced his retirement due to his poor health.
For that reason, during the months before and after this sad event, I preferred to be prudent, since Michael Neidorff has been and always will be part of Ribera, both emotionally and professionally, due to his humanity, charisma, strength, foresight and support in all of the projects and moments that we have shared. And, in my opinion, he saw the same values and spirit in Ribera that he always transmitted to his own company.
Michael Neidorff was not only the Chairman and CEO of Centene Corporation, but also the founder of the company, who started with a turnover of 40 million dollars and left the company with one of 130,000 million, positioning it as one of the 25 most important companies in the United States.
His social vision of healthcare, his work capacity and leadership, the social projects that he spearheaded and his personal involvement in the commitment to quality healthcare for all (Medicaid, Medicare) are an inspiration for those of us who dedicate our lives to health prevention and taking care of the population. He always sought balance between management, the unique nature of each aspect such as the healthcare of the population and the commitment and involvement of the professionals. He placed value on and prioritized the humanistic side that those who dedicate themselves to healthcare should have, our public service vocation, social commitment and passion for this sector.
Michael was a visionary who understood, visualized and knew how to convey the keys to the healthcare of the next decade better than anyone which, as I pointed out earlier, will always be a reference for me. I have felt the loss greatly and I would like to take advantage of this first blog entry of the year to send his wife and son a hug and a message: Michael Neidorf will always be with us, and his work and legend will live on as an example of healthcare, both within and outside the United States.
In the group’s central offices, all of the rooms have the name of important figures in medicine, from Ramón y Cajal to Marie Curie or Severo Ochoa, and we have decided to name the Ribera Board Meeting room with the name of this great man, Michael Neidorff, because we know that his philosophy and vision regarding healthcare, as well as his memory, will forever inspire us.
After these events and changes in Centene’s management, there was, as we all know, a re-definition of its strategy and projects. Today the Ribera group no longer belongs to Centene. We have grown and learned a lot together, but we are beginning a new stage. At the end of July the purchasing of the American insurer’s shares by Vivalto was made public. They are the 3rd leading private healthcare group in France with which we share our values, vision and mission, as well as the obvious close geographical location. We are starting a new journey, with a lot of experience and the knowledge of our more than 7,000 professionals in the group, as well as great excitement and a lot of projects in which the role of these professionals is going to be even more important in this post-pandemic era.
If you follow this blog, you will definitely have seen the importance that we always give to the role of the professionals in our organization. Clinical leadership has always been key in our responsible health model, but, without a doubt, it has also been one of the keys in terms of successsfully overcoming the hardest moments of this pandemic, together with foresight, flexibility in management and the ability to adapt quickly. Furthermore, if you know Ribera’s new shareholder, Vivalto Santé, you will know that part of his equity is in the hands of professionals connected to the project. That is the level of importance that our new shareholder gives to their role. This is the spirit. And with so many shared values, principles and priorities, I know that we are going to do great things together.
And I’ll finish here. We are starting a new chapter to which are passionately looking ahead, involving significant challenges, both as a nation and a sector. In the next blog entries I will try to continue to present my analysis and vision regarding the trends and challenges that await us. I will just say that, with work, enthusiasm and commitment, I am sure that we will progress with the Ribera group’s great responsible health project.