Five Questions With: Laura Neenan Fogarty

LAURA NEENAN FOGARTY is the new head of health care banking at Citizens Bank. /COURTESY CITIZENS BANK
LAURA NEENAN FOGARTY is the new head of health care banking at Citizens Bank. /COURTESY CITIZENS BANK

Laura Neenan Fogarty was hired July 24 by Citizens Commercial Banking to lead its national health care banking group, Citizens Bank announced, bringing 20 years of corporate banking experience to her new role. Fogarty most recently served as managing director of health care corporate banking at Citigroup. Prior to Citigroup, Fogarty worked as a corporate banker at the Bank of New York and Bank of America.

Providence Business News asked Fogarty her thoughts on recent trends in health care, and her take on their likely effect on health care banking.

PBN: How is uncertainty regarding health care law and the Affordable Care Act affecting investment in the industry?

FOGARTY: Uncertainty about health care legislation in Washington, D.C., is having an impact on the industry as clients try to anticipate what possible changes will mean for them and how they can prepare for possible outcomes. That’s part of the value we can add. While we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us what the outcome will be, our bankers have years of experience working with a range of clients in the health care sector and a depth of expertise that positions us to be trusted advisers who can offer objective advice to help our clients reach their potential.

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In today’s complex global economy, corporate decision-makers need a strong financial partner who is also a committed and trusted adviser. We have the experience and thorough market knowledge to assist decision-makers in identifying and executing on valuable business opportunities.

PBN: How is Citizens strategically positioned to serve health care customers?

FOGARTY: We have a range of health care clients and a deep bench of experienced bankers who have worked with health care clients for many years. We deliver long-term value for clients by serving as their strategic and financial partner, offering expertise and tailored solutions throughout the lifecycle of their business. We get to know our clients – and their unique goals and challenges – and connect them with opportunities that will build substantial value and further their success.

PBN: What is the major trend in health care banking in Rhode Island? How does that compare to national trends?

FOGARTY: Nationally, we have seen an uptick in hospital and health system consolidation. This pace of provider consolidation has been a byproduct of health care reform efforts to reduce cost and administrative burdens through scale. Rhode Island is not immune to this trend, as one of its health systems has recently announced its intention to merge with a regional health system. At Citizens, we have a strong track record of advising clients on financing strategies for provider consolidation, as well as providing cash-management solutions to optimize working capital and drive operating efficiencies.

PBN: What’s your take on big data’s role in health care investment? What do you see on the horizon there?

FOGARTY: This is the future of health care. We are seeing a number of startups as well as blue chip companies investing in this area. Today, we have mainstream adoption of health apps and wearable devices to monitor patient health. Increasingly, this data will be harnessed and shared with physicians to provide a more-integrated standard of care.

Over time, Big Data will be used for predictive analytics to help physicians identify at-risk patients. Early detection will not only improve a patient’s survival rate, but will also lower the cost of care. It’s quite exciting to see what is on the horizon for Big Data in health care and we look forward to supporting the banking needs of the pioneers in this growth area.

PBN: Has the opioid crisis made waves in health care investment?

FOGARTY: As the opioid crisis continues to plague the region and the nation, it’s important for all players in the health care industry to identify and drive solutions to combat this epidemic. While policymakers take action to counter opioid misuse, we can expect to see varying degrees of volatility across the health care supply chain.

Longer term, our view of the sector is positive, driven by the aging population and steady demand for health care services. At Citizens, we take pride in our portfolio of health care clients and their continued contribution to innovation and improvements in health care delivery.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN contributing writer.

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