Médica Sur is one of the few publicly listed companies in the world that offer hospital services. What challenges do you face in this segment?
In Mexico, we are the only one, and this is because the financial market in Mexico is small; however, listed companies need to share information and numbers with the public, and there is also the compliance aspect that requires hard work. You need a department dedicated exclusively to the Mexican Stock Exchange, and it demands you have several committees and a quarterly board meeting. This helps us to be transparent. We completed the remodeling of the hospital, purchased a PET CT equipment and new CT and MRI equipment, and updated most of the hospital's equipment and operating rooms. All these amounted to a MXN300-million investment. Hospitals require constant upgrading, because equipment usually lasts around 10 years.
The private sector is contemplating creating a private universal healthcare system. Are you involved in this project?
More than universal insurance, there has been talk amongst hospitals to consolidate purchases to make pricing more efficient. We have been working hard in the last few years to reduce the hospital's average invoice. We are the only high-specialty hospital in the country in the medium-cost range. This allows us to have a large orientation toward social medicine and provide services to a wider range of the population. We were working on this for the past two years, and it was completed in 2019. This means patients can access the best healthcare in the country at a second-level hospital cost. There are three high-level hospitals in Mexico: ABC, Angeles, and Médica Sur. We are the only one in the mid-range in terms of cost.
What are your main objectives in the short to medium term?
We maintain superior clinical quality and high medical ethics. Our hospital is focused 100% on the patient, and our indicators are better than the WHO's recommendations for patient safety, including infections, mortality rates, and hand washing. All these considerations make us the best hospital in Mexico. We want to reach a higher percentage of the population and be more profitable. We work extensively with doctors, who can give us first-hand information about patients. We are work with companies and insurers. The new equipment we purchased cost around USD1.5-2.5 million each. This is one of the reasons why healthcare is so expensive.
You were contemplating separating the laboratory from the company. Can you tell us more about this?
We published a document in the Mexican Stock Exchange to pay dividends with stocks from Laboratorio Médico Polanco and to change the stock control of the laboratory. One of the requirements was to obtain authorization from the National Stock Commission and the financial authorities of the country, which we did not receive. Therefore, we have refocused on operating the whole group and the laboratory is part of it, but it has a different strategy than the hospital. We have around 120 locations in seven states, which helps us to diversify and reach more patients.
What is your vision of an ideal hospital?
The human aspect of healthcare will always be necessary. Diagnostics will be faster, more efficient, and less invasive in terms of surgeries, leading to faster recoveries, shorter stays at the hospital, and lower costs. We are attracting doctors, changing our information systems, and building a digital medical storage system.
Do you see great potential in medical tourism?
Areas that have the highest rates of medical tourism are at the border, mainly Tijuana and Cancún. We have a medical tourism department that attract patients and shows them that our clinical quality is similar—and even superior—at half the cost or less, depending on their country of origin. Compared to the US, it can be up to seven times cheaper. We try to be a one-stop shop, booking flights, coordinating transportation from the airport, and accommodating patients at our hotel.