South Florida Extra - Pacesetter
A Florida First
PACESETTER: A Florida First
Joseph L. Caruncho, 47
Founder/CEO: Preferred Care Partners Holding Corp., Miami
The business: A "provider-sponsored organization" -- a healthcare provider that lets doctors make most medical decisions with fewer hassles than a traditional HMO. Specializes in Medicare and Medicaid clients.
Financials: Sees about $300 million in annualized revenue for 2005 and about $10 million in earnings.
Employees: About 200
Physical network: About 1,500 doctors in Miami-Dade and Broward participate.
Artistic expression: Jazz trumpet musician.
Casualty of the ambitious expansion: "My golf game has suffered."At a Washington, D.C., seminar in 1996, Joseph Caruncho became intrigued with a novel concept emerging from Medicare: A provider-sponsored organization.
Since then, the Miami corporate healthcare attorney has turned that idea into a profitable business.
A PSO is a type of health maintenance organization designed to empower doctors to make medical decisions without most of the red tape and gate-keeping obstacles that have tarnished traditional HMOs. After extensive groundwork, he launched Preferred Care Partners in 2002 as the first PSO in Florida and the third in the nation.
"They offer me more freedom of choice, allowing me, the doctor, to practice medicine more traditionally,'' says Dr. Nestor Guaty, a family-medicine physician in Miami who is part of the Preferred Care network. "I can pretty much order tests for patients as I need. They give me that freedom -- and trust that I'm going to manage the patient as I see fit without waste."
Doctors also like that Preferred Care pays them slightly better than traditional HMOs.
After growing organically to more than 7,000 members, Preferred Care acquired the Medicare business of Miami-based Neighborhood Health Partnership in April, boosting membership by 38,000 members in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
"Our whole model," says Caruncho, is "let's keep members for the long term."
>> Georges Andre was named executive vice president and chief operations officer at Access Worldwide Communications, a Boca Raton marketing services company. He had been president and CEO of its TelAc Teleservices group.
>> John Ahrenholz, first vice president and senior commercial loan officer at Fidelity Federal Bank & Trust, joined the seven-member board of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority.
>> Orlando Camps was tapped as president of the condo-conversion division of Coral Gables-based Cornerstone Group.
>> Thomas B. Walker, a partner at Tatum CFO Partners and a longtime Palm Beach financial adviser, joined the board of directors at Beach Bank in Miami Beach.
>> The Palm Beach County Convention & Visitors Bureau named Michelle Deegan as northeast sales manager. She was a national sales manager at the Loews Miami Beach.
Condo ConnectionPHILIP J. SPIEGELMAN
CRAIG S. STUDNICKY
Executive vice president, co-founder
International Sales Group, Aventura
The business: Born in Cuba, arrived together at ages 11 and 8 through the Pedro Pan program; reunited with parents who arrived in U.S. five years later.
The business: Sales machine, founded 1996, to help condo developers move inventory. Runs the gamut, from preconstruction units to resales to condo conversions. The latter is red hot: "There's faster turnover," says Spiegelman. "Strike while the iron is hot."
Employees: About 250, two-thirds are sales agents, and one-third is administrative staff.
Annual sales: Tripled in a year and a half to $1.5 billion.
Inventory: More than $10 billion, more than 20,000 condo units.
Strengths: A strong network of sales agents in Latin America and Europe to promote the product. Extensive sales training programs that range, says Spiegelman, "from how to say 'hello' to 'make out the check to...' "
Catbird seat: "Right now, real estate is the new Wall Street. We didn't create it. We're just real glad it happened," says Studnicky.
Outlook: Spiegelman sees continued strength in the condo market, but some pockets of excess. "The Brickell area and downtown area bother me greatly. Midtown (Miami), we're taking a wait-and-see approach. The mitigating factor is a lot of the projects won't get built because of rising costs and a labor shortage."
Miami: "We now are the cosmopolitan, international city we always bragged about being. It's no longer the cocaine cowboys and 'Miami Vice' of the past," says Spiegelman.
>> The Trump name soon will be emblazoned on yet another luxury property, with general contractor Stiles Construction at work on the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale. New York developer Roy Stillman is joining Trump in the venture, a 24-story tower at 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.
>> WSG Development lined up a $386-million construction loan with Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp. to build Canyon Ranch Living at 6801 Collins Ave. in Miami Beach. The six-acre oceanfront project, designed by Arquitectonica, will include restoration of the vintage Carillon Hotel and construction of two towers with 442 condominium units.
>> Riviera Beach has chosen Viking Harbor Properties to lead its ambitious harbor redevelopment plan, which includes luxury condominiums, restaurants, shops, an aquarium and space for more marine businesses.
Tapping the Brakes
The massive blow Hurricane Katrina dealt to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and neighboring states -- and the follow-up punch from Hurricane Rita -- will drain vital resources from south Florida.
One key impact: Construction companies will forsake Florida to turn their manpower to the massive rebuilding effort along the Gulf, and builders will scramble for scarce materials, driving up prices.
"No question Katrina and Rita are a powerful punch to skilled labor, especially in the area of construction," says Tony Villamil, an economist and chief executive officer of Washington Economics Group in Coral Gables. "I hear concerns by both public works and the private sector."
"The biggest problem is it's sucking human resources out of here," says Aventura-based Craig S. Studnicky, executive vice president of International Sales Group, a condominium sales and marketing boutique. And prices for materials are soaring, he adds.
Still, every cloud has a silver lining: The tightening in manpower and supplies may help curb overbuilding in south Florida. "It means some of the projects that are planned for Miami won't get built," says Studnicky.
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