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Cesar Herrera of Yuvo Health

Cesar Herrera, MBA, MPH, chief executive officer and co-founder of Yuvo Health, a technology-based administrative and managed care solution for federally qualified health centers in New York City, is one of 10 emerging healthcare leaders in the annual Managed Healthcare Executive function.

Cesar Herrera, MBA, MPH

After immigrating to the United States from the Philippines at the age of 3, I grew up in working-class neighborhoods in and around Detroit. I have an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business and an MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to joining Yuvo Health in 2021, I was the head of existing business for Zocdoc, a platform that allows patients to book medical care appointments, and the chief solutions officer at Healthify, which provides access to networks of social service organizations. My family lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

Why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare?

I grew up knowing I wanted to work in healthcare, although I didn’t realize the details until my college days. As a former patient of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), I was significantly affected by health care at a young age. FQHCs, who provided care to historically disadvantaged communities, gave my family care, support and dignity regardless of our health insurance.

What career achievement are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of the launch of Yuvo Health with my three co-founders. Together, we share a deep-rooted mission: to advocate and protect people in historically disenfranchised and low-income communities who may struggle to access care.

What is the most challenging part of your current position?

The lack of access to health care in the United States extends far beyond health care itself. The health inequalities in our country are the result of institutional racism and classism – deep-seated problems. While our work is addressing health inequalities, there is still so much more to do by policymakers on a broader scale to improve access to care.

What is your organization doing to address equity in healthcare?

FQHCs are the “boots on the ground” in underserved communities, providing care to those who need it most. They also face unique operational challenges that hinder the growth needed to meet demand. Yuvo Health helps FQHCs serve more members of their communities by connecting FQHCs with value-based contract and administrative services so they can elevate their revenue models to something more sustainable. FQHCs will then be empowered to extend their reach to more people who need access to care.

If you could change one thing about American health care, what would it be?

I want healthcare to be equally accessible to everyone, regardless of their geography, socioeconomic status, race, culture or language. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, there are 20 million low-income people in the United States who do not have access to an FQHC and require primary care. If we continue to create a healthcare ecosystem where health care providers are paid significantly less for Medicaid patients than they are for commercially insured patients, this access gap will never disappear.

How do you prevent a burnout?

I avoid burnout by spending meaningful time with my three children and wife, in which I am fully present. Because it’s easy to feel that we need to be available all the time, I add personal blocks of time to my calendar that can’t be scheduled. For example, I have time blocks for workouts and school drop-out every morning, as well as a family dinner every night. If I don’t take control of my calendar, it can easily take control of me. Really unplugging from work, even if it’s only for short periods a day, helps me be more present at work.

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