Cesar Herrera of Yuvo Health

Cesar Herrera, MBA, MPH, CEO and co-founder of Yuvo Health, an administrative and managed care technology solution for federally qualified health centers based in New York, is one of 10 Future Health Center Leaders featured in the annual feature of Managed Healthcare Executive.

Cesar Herrera, MBA, MPH

After immigrating to the United States from the Philippines at age 3, I grew up in the working-class neighborhoods in and around Detroit. I have an MBA from the New York University Stern School of Business and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Before starting Yuvo Health in 2021, I was Head of Existing Business for Zocdoc, a platform that allows patients to book appointments for medical care, and 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 understand the specifics until my college years. As a former patient of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), I was significantly influenced by the healthcare industry at an early age. FQHCs that provided care to historically underserved communities gave my family care, support and dignity regardless of our health insurance status.

What career achievement are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of starting Yuvo Health with my three co-founders. Collectively, we share a deep-rooted mission: to be advocates and advocates for 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 goes far beyond health care itself. Our nation’s health care inequities are a function of institutional racism and classism—problems that are deeply rooted. While we are tackling health inequalities through our work, there is much more to be done on a wider scale than policymakers to improve access to care.

What is your organization doing to address health equity?

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 contracting and administrative services so they can elevate their revenue models into something more sustainable. FQHCs are then empowered to expand their reach to more people who need access to care.

If you could change one thing about healthcare in the US, what would it be?

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

How do you avoid burnout?

I avoid burnout by spending meaningful time with my three children and my wife, during which I am fully present. Because it’s easy to feel like we always have to be available, I add personal blocks of time to my calendar that can’t be scheduled. For example, I have time blocks for training and school drop-off each morning, as well as time for family dinner each evening. If I don’t take control of my calendar, it can easily take control of me. Really switching off from work, even just for short periods each day, helps me be more present when I’m working.

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