The Future of Healthcare: “We should incentivize healthy habits” with Taseer Badar CEO of ZT Corporate
Incentivize healthy habits. Create a savings pool among physicians and patients to see how much money could actually be saved if patients already practice healthy habits, and share those findings. This would incentivize both the patient and the health care professionals to remain healthy.
As a part of my interview series with leaders in healthcare, I had the pleasure to interview Taseer Badar. Taseer is the Chairman and CEO of ZT Corporate, a Houston and New York City leading private equity firm. After getting his start on Wall Street, Taseer Badar, a lifelong entrepreneur and Mays School of Business Texas A&M University Alum, returned to his roots in Houston in 1997 and formed ZT Corporate (Formerly ZT Wealth) to offer unique investor-owner opportunities to clients. ZT Corporate’s portfolio includes Healthcare (Altus Health System), car dealerships (ZT Motors), quick service restaurants (ZT Restaurants), hospitality (Post Oak Hospitality Group), sports management (ZT Sports), film (ZT Films) and mobile communications (ZT Mobile).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I come from a family that immigrated to the United States to pursue better opportunities, so it was almost inevitable that I inherited the same drive and entrepreneurial spirit. I started several small successful businesses in high school and attended Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University. During this time, I learned how to build trust and exercise financial discipline. After graduation, I joined Morgan Stanley on Wall Street. I decided to return to my roots in Houston to form ZT Corporate to provide unique opportunities to clients. My clients trusted me because I was deeply passionate about their success and had a big picture focus. During this time, I realized that building an owner-operated private equity firm could yield higher returns, especially a firm that embodied my key values: strong passion for customers, constant innovation, winning selfless attitude and share focus on execution. From that moment on, ZT Corporate was formed in 1997.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most interesting story starting out has to be my first business venture as an entrepreneur. I was eager to start my first financial investment and I rushed into owning gas stations. I went into this business expecting to make profit, and many investor friends told me not to charge rent on these gas stations until they turned a profit. To my surprise, I learned that gas stations have lots of cash involved…and also lots of fraud. I had a tenant leave, and that left me to manage the gas station from behind the counter. What I believed to be a solid investment turned out to be more complicated and have more issues than I expected. At the time I was $100,000 in credit card debt. Within 9 months I had to sell all of my gas stations. Through this experience, I learned the value of smart investments, building a team of trusted advisors and tenacity to see what you started through.
What makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
At ZT Corporate, we are all about relationship building. I have never burned any bridges and continue to follow this mission throughout my career. We deliver on our word. The relationships we build with our employees and management reflects on our successes of growing our portfolio revenues from $28 million to $600 million.
Let’s jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this study cited by Newsweek, the US healthcare system is ranked as the worst among high income nations. This seems shocking. Can you share with us 3–5 reasons why you think the US is ranked so poorly?
1. People in America are not incentivized to be healthy.
2. America lacks preventative healthcare education programs.
3. Obesity is high in America due to poor health options.
You are a “healthcare insider”. If you had the power to make a change, can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.
- Empower Physicians. Happy physicians = great results. Healthcare leaders should empower their employees with the motivation to love their job and build meaningful relationships with their patients. In turn, motivated employees will reflect this back in the high level of care they show their patients. Examples of empowering physicians could include providing resources and access to more treatments, research, etc., encouraging work/life balance so they have time to recharge, providing more time in appointments so they can truly understand patient’s needs, rewarding physicians to keep patients healthy, etc.
- Provide top-notch patient education. Make preventative care a priority for all patient visits — sick and well — so it makes them feel cared for. This could be communicated in the form of information for patients who are interested in achieving personal health goals.
- Incentivize healthy habits. Create a savings pool among physicians and patients to see how much money could actually be saved if patients already practice healthy habits, and share those findings. This would incentivize both the patient and the health care professionals to remain healthy.
- Hands-on Management. Management needs to be in the know of what is going on in their healthcare facilities and be treated as if they were the surgeons, physicians, nurses, administrative staff, etc. They need to know every detail of their health facility and what is going on at all times. They need to have a pulse on who their patients are and what they can do to better serve them better. I think it would be comforting for a family to see an executive roaming the halls checking on everyone’s visit.
- Government Liaison. Having a liaison between the healthcare professionals and a direct government representative would be beneficial for the healthcare system and the facility. The government needs to be in the know straight from a source at all times. They should not be getting the news from their desk — they need to be deep into what is actually going on and to take action as needed.
Thank you! It’s great to suggest changes, but what specific steps would need to be taken to implement your ideas? What can individuals, corporations, communities and leaders do to help?
- Individuals: Patients will have to trust that the healthcare professionals have their best interest in mind and let their healthcare professionals build a bond with them. It is important that patients follow any guidelines and suggestions from their doctors to prevent any future sickness and to regain health. Whether the individual may have to change to a more active lifestyle, eat healthier, or just quit smoking/drinking, they must learn to trust their health professionals based on the positive relationships they’ve built.
- Corporations: Corporations will need to put an emphasis on training all healthcare professionals the importance of relationships. Having healthcare providers treat each patient like an individual and suggest personalized measures to continue being healthy or to prevent illness is very important. Corporations will also need to make sure management is involved on what is going on directly in their healthcare facilities.
- Communities: The communities will have to form organizations at workplaces, schools, and other places to receive education on health tips and preventative practices. It should be a priority that communities learn preventative habits.
- Leaders: Healthcare leaders will have to make sure all these moving parts work together by building relationships with the community, corporations, individuals, and the government in order to make sure that the issues are known, and the solutions are made. The main issues they will need to focus on include the lack of education, lack of incentives for patients/doctors to keep patients healthy, and the lack of knowledge of government and healthcare managers of knowing exactly what is going on in institutions.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better healthcare leader? Can you explain why you like them?
I read publications such as Barron’s, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Becker’s Hospital Review, etc. Barron’s and Forbes provide the financial pulse on what is happening in the world. Entrepreneur provides leadership inspiration and Becker’s Hospital Review provides an overview of what is happening in the healthcare space.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!