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Jon R. Cohen, M.D., physician business executive, is Senior Vice President of OPKO Health (NASDAQ: OPK) and is Executive Chairman of BioReference Laboratories. As Executive Chairman, Dr. Cohen has overall responsibility for Bioreference Laboratories and its subsidiary, GeneDx. Dr. Cohen has more than 30 years of healthcare experience as a seasoned strategic leader with extensive P/L and operational responsibility and a successful track record of growing existing business and developing new business ventures. Previously, Dr. Cohen served for over nine years as a Senior Executive and named executive officer at Quest Diagnostics. Originally as Chief Medical Officer, most recently as Senior Vice President and Group Executive - Diagnostic Solutions. His business responsibilities during his tenure included the hospital reference business, cancer services, pathology services, sports diagnostics, and professional lab services, Quest's comprehensive offerings to hospitals and health systems.
Before joining Quest, Dr. Cohen served Senior Advisor to New York Governor David A. Paterson responsible for all strategy and planning after having run for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2006 on a platform of healthcare reform. For seven years he served as Chief Medical Officer at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System (Northwell Health). In 2010, he was named one of the nation's top 50 most powerful physician executives by Modern Healthcare. His 2012 TEDMED, "Why Don't Patients Act Like Consumers?" was recently ranked the # 1 TEDMED talk that every healthcare executive needs to watch.
Having spent more than two decades in the healthcare field, Dr. Cohen has extensive operational experience managing large complex organizations in addition to navigating the complex State/Federal healthcare regulatory environment. Dr. Cohen is a vascular surgeon who completed his residency in surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and vascular surgery fellowship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed professional articles and authored two books. In 2010, he was named as one the nation's top 50 most powerful physician executives by Modern Healthcare. In 2014, his TEDMED “Why Don’t Patients Act Like Consumers?” (2012) was ranked the # 1 TEDMED Ted Talk that every healthcare executive needs to watch.
Quest Diagnostics is the world’s largest diagnostics company with annual revenues of $7.7 billion. Dr. Cohen was one of five executive officers of the corporation, and had P/L responsibility for over $1.2 billion and operational responsibility for the five businesses he leads. He has a successful track record of growing existing business, developing new business ventures and turning around losing entities. He served as the corporation’s Chief Medical Officer from 2009-2015. As CMO, Dr. Cohen was responsible for promoting medical policies that assure the highest possible patient quality and safety; health policies that have the most positive impact on patient care as related to all of Quest's businesses; patient-centric enterprises to align the business towards patient engagement; and broad medical initiatives that leverage the expertise of the medical community of approximately 650 employed physicians and PhDs.
As Director of Hospital Services, Dr. Cohen had P/L and operational responsibility for Quest's second largest line of business. With over $1 billion in revenue, the hospital services line of business encompasses all of the esoteric reference testing that is performed at Quest's four national esoteric laboratories servicing over 3,000 customers worldwide, including hospitals, commercial labs, Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, State and County Departments of Health, Prisons and Indian Services.
After arriving at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in 1985, Cohen rose through the ranks to become Chief of Vascular Surgery, Chairman of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief. As Chief of Vascular Surgery, he built one of the most robust clinical and nationally recognized academic divisions and established the first comprehensive vascular institute in New York. His major research contributions were into the pathophysiology of aortic aneurysm development at the molecular level. Under his leadership as Chairman of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief, the department grew to 18 surgeons, with an institutional surgical volume increasing from 17,000 to 25,000 cases per year.
From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Cohen was Executive Vice President of the three-hospital academic medical center with operational responsibility for the day to day operations of the 800-bed academic medical center with an annual budget of $600 million.
In 2000, Dr. Cohen was appointed as Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for the newly merged entity, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the nation’s 4th largest not-for-profit health system, which includes 15 hospitals, 7,000 physicians, 8,000 nurses, 7,000 employees and has a revenue base of four billion dollars. As the health system's senior physician, he had overall responsibility for the professional management of the clinical, educational, research and administrative matters as related to all medical affairs of the health system. With the strategic vision of unifying the two large medical centers as "one medical center on two sites," he set the course to merge these two entities with an overriding goal: providing the best possible clinical care by (1) merging services where appropriate, and (2) investing new resources without duplication in a delivery model around disease specific care. The result is one of the most successful healthcare mergers in the country during a time when many had failed.
Having served as health care policy advisor to gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall in 2002 and presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, Dr. Cohen is a nationally recognized health policy expert and frequently advises government officials and elected officials on health policy.
In 2005, Cohen announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of New York. Cohen raised more than $700,000 for his election bid, the largest amount for a Lieutenant Governor race in New York state history. As one of the earliest leaders in the call for healthcare reform, Cohen called the healthcare system "dysfunctional at every level." He proposed linking universal health-insurance coverage to economic development, repeating his message that "health care is a right, not a privilege." He favored setting up an insurance pool backed by private carriers that would spread the risk of health care coverage, making it affordable for small businesses, as well as spearheading state-led investment in biotechnology and stem cell research to foster job creation and medical innovation. Cohen further developed plans to cut fraud and waste from the Medicaid system, which he blamed for ruining county budgets, stating, "What's happening is, there's too little money left for roads, for senior citizen programs and for schools."
He was viewed as the front runner in the race which included then-State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, Wappinger Town supervisor Joe Ruggiero, and Leecia Eve, an aide to then-Senator Hillary Clinton. A primary was averted when the front runner for Governor, Eliot Spitzer, named undeclared candidate Harlem State Senator David A. Paterson as his running mate, leading Cohen and other candidates to quickly coalesce behind his choice. Cohen nominated Paterson for Lieutenant Governor during the 2006 Democratic Party convention, held in Buffalo, New York.
When David Paterson succeeded Eliot Spitzer as Governor of New York, Paterson appointed Cohen as his Senior Advisor. As Senior Advisor, Cohen was responsible for developing all policy and strategic planning as related to healthcare, education, environment, economic development, energy, transportation, homeland security and local governments. Dr Cohen was one of the six senior staff responsible to the Governor for the coordinated activities to manage the country’s third largest state, including 83 agencies, 600 authorities, 200,000 employees and a budget of $124 billion.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2010-06-14.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Cohen JR, Sarfati I, Danna D, Wise L: "Smooth Muscle Cell Elastase, Atherosclerosis, and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms". Ann of Surg 216(3):327 330, 1992.
- Cohen JR, Dowling M, Gallagher JST: "The trials, tribulations, and relative success of the ongoing clinical merger of two large academic hospital systems". Academic Medicine 76:675-683, 2001.
- Mead, Julia. "A Doctor Looks to 2006 With Health Care His Issue". New York Times. October 16, 2005.
- Hicks, Jonathan. "Lieutenant Governor Candidate Quits and Backs Spitzer". New York Times. January 31, 2006.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth. "Paterson Taps Former LG Rival To Serve As Sr. Advisor" Archived 2008-03-28 at the Wayback Machine. Daily News. March 27, 2008.
- Chan, Swell. "Paterson Names Counsel and Senior Adviser". New York Times. March 27, 2008.