ONE HOSPITAL FOR ALL

Oman 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

UME Group has vast experience in commissioning and managing more than 100 hospitals in over 25 countries over the last 35 years.

Sandeep Kumar
BIOGRAPHY
Sandeep Kumar is CEO of Saudi Medicare Company - UAE & Oman. He has more than 18 years of healthcare services experience and has an exceptional talent for turning around ailing healthcare businesses by optimizing healthcare organizations, and providing excellent value to their added leadership and team building skills. Prior to joining UME Group, he was COO of AVIVO Group based in Dubai, which had portfolio investment of USD350 million and annual revenues of more than USD100 million. As COO of AVIVO Group, he was responsible for the healthcare operations of 47 healthcare assets spread across the GCC.

How many hospitals does the group manage within Oman and the Gulf region?

United Medical has planned, managed, developed, commissioned, and operated hospitals and healthcare projects in over 25 countries including the UK, Middle East, and Far East since 1973. The success of United Medical in delivering high quality services led to the British government, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and other development agencies awarding United Medical several contracts worldwide. Our model with new projects is that wherever we operate, we offer innovative and cost-effective solutions by implementing quality standards and driving efficiencies and effectiveness. The group has always been a leader in bringing in the latest technologies and advancements, such as advanced imaging modalities like 3 Tesla MRI, 128 Slice CT Scans, Cardiac scans, and Cath Lab interventions that benefit patients. We operate in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and the UK. The infrastructure for all these centers is different, though our biggest infrastructure investments to date have been in Muscat and Saudi. We built and manage the Muscat Private Hospital (MPH), the first private hospital in Oman. The MPH brand has been well known across Oman as a premium brand with quality and trust for over 18 years. We are the first custom-built greenfield private healthcare project with all services under one roof.

What are the key differentiators between MPH and its competitors?

It is the first custom-built private hospital and is a one-stop shop for all healthcare needs. It has the largest number of departments compared to other hospitals in the private sector and the highest number of skilled medical staff compared to any other private organization. We are the first center to have JCI accreditation, the gold standard of healthcare quality across the globe. We are still developing and adjusting our capacities, as the group has moved into different areas of healthcare service offerings. We found certain gaps in our service delivery that we predict will be necessary in the coming five to six years with the aging population and increase in chronic patients due to life-style changes. We are looking at the gaps in the private sector and determining how we can complement the entire healthcare system so that patients can receive end-to-end treatment rather than having to travel overseas for better treatment. MPH can easily complement and support the Ministry of Health in reducing the shortage of acute care beds as we have developed infrastructure that can act as a backup support. Equally important, we have started working with the Ministry of Health to handle expat emergency cases which put pressure on government beds. The Ministry of Health is encouraging more and more private participation in healthcare deliveries, helping MPH to pursue lucrative projects in the future.

How do you see the new health insurance law shaping the health industry in Oman?

It started in phases over the last two or three years, and the majority of the population is getting insured without any problems. During these tough economic times, the prime motive of leadership teams in companies is controlling costs. Issues arise when companies cut down on costs and their insurance premiums fall, as payers want to control loss ratios, and providers are paid less. To have a win-win scenario for all stakeholders, we require a regulatory framework with different types of insurance plans so that quality can be controlled with standard pricing. The pricing mechanism should be one-on-one, with payer companies based on previous track record, the quality of team and services, and infrastructure support.

What are your primary objectives for the next 12 months?

Our objective is clear: we want to be the leading healthcare player in Oman in terms of quality, value, and patient experience. The brand has created trust among the local community and is perceived as a one-stop shop for everything. Now, we need to continue to meet these expectations in terms of infrastructure, service quality, clinical outcomes, and adapting to the latest smart technologies. We will satisfy patients and communities using digital technology to create a dynamic healthcare system across all ages and by offering round-the-clock services.