The Healthcare Industry lost a true statesman with last month’s passing of Joe Yurowitz, long-time senior vice president of The Grand Healthcare System in New York.
Joe’s untimely death at the age of 51 left a huge void in our collective family and in the hearts of all who were fortunate to know him. Joe was the consummate healthcare professional and a major force behind the many forward-thinking initiatives and programs that have made The Grand Healthcare brand the envy of healthcare providers across the country.
He cared deeply and passionately about every resident living in the many healthcare facilities he oversaw. With his incredible personal charm and charisma, he endeared himself to everyone.
To Joe, every resident was family. They were not just names to him and part of a census tally. They were unique individuals who were loved and beloved and deserving of being treated like one of his own.
His energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds.
His love and caring for each patient and resident was palpable.
His respect for his staff and colleagues was something to admire.
In short, to know Joe was to love him. He truly was and represented what every healthcare professional should aspire to be.
In the current healthcare climate, where there is often a pervasive focus on the “numbers game,” Joe understood and championed the fundamental basics of quality care and healthcare delivery.
But it did not stop there.
He possessed a keen acumen and demonstrated great insight into developing market trends and technologies. Whenever there was a new technology to help with care delivery or to enhance quality of life for his residents, Joe was first to embrace it.
For example, well before resident iPads were in vogue, Joe introduced an amazing program at The Grand to provide every resident with their own electronic iPad concierge as a means of enhancing their stay and connecting them with their loved ones.
Joe was a very dear friend and a mentor to me. He was also SkyCare Media’s very first client, something for which I will always be grateful.
His limitless creativity was always in full display especially when he was nurturing the Grand Healthcare brand by cultivating and implementing fresh ideas to solve old problems.
During COVID-19, it pained him to see families disconnected from their loved ones in nursing homes. He spent countless hours thinking up new and creative solutions to help his residents connect safely with their families.
His caring and meticulous attention to detail in his personal life was no different.
I will never forget the time I insisted on building a free website for one of the many charitable and philanthropic causes he spearheaded. He thanked me profusely, and I was sure we had a deal.
When I did not hear back from him after some time, I checked in to see what was causing the delay. He admitted that he had given it some additional thought and decided it would be best not to take me up on my offer and wound up going with a different company. He was concerned that since my team would be building the website gratis, he might be reluctant to impose on us with requests for tweaks.
“The website for this charity needs to be 100% perfect and it wouldn’t be fair to short-change them just because I’m getting it for free,” he said. Instead, he paid top dollar out of his own pocket to ensure that he would not place himself in a position where he might be willing to settle for less than perfect.
However, it is perhaps my final interaction with him that most succinctly sums up who he was as a person.
I live in the same community as one of his married children. A few weeks ago, I noticed his son-in-Law engaged in a meaningful spiritual endeavor. I surreptitiously captured a photo with my phone and sent it to Joe via Whatsapp. His response was immediate: “Yep that’s my son, the real deal, thank God!”
Joe, YOU were the real deal.
You will be missed but never forgotten and will live on in the hearts of your family, friends and admirers.
Rest in peace my beloved friend.
Judah Gutwein, LNHA, is CEO of SkyCare Media.