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HPA Magazine 8
A BENCHMARK IN HEALTHCARE FOR THE MADEIRANS
Founded more than 10 years ago in the centre of Funchal, the Madeira Medical Center has long been a benchmark for the Madeirans. Many elements play their part every day, from the professionals to the management team, but also the partners and suppliers. We talked with Rodrigo Cardoso and Henrique Menezes, two of the administrators of the MMC, about the projects and challenges they foresee.
What strategies have contributed towards the Madeira Medical Center (MMC) holding the leading position that everyone recognises?
RC: Before answering to the question, it is important to put into context the recent past of the Madeira Medical Center.
The MMC went through a process of insolvency in June of 2013, when I was called on to serve as the Chairman of the Board of the company. A company like the MMC could not shut down, as it had everything necessary to function, but just needed sound economic management. In this respect, quite a few measures were taken along with a strict financial plan that was put into place, which together led to the credibility of the company in its different aspects.
In the first place, to make the doctors believe that this would be a winning project (even in the situation we were in) and, where they could count on all of the financial discipline and the reinvestment in equipment and structure. To the employees on the whole, to make them believe that they could keep their jobs and help the Administration on this road to success. For this we had to take action for internal motivation, branding and an attitude for serving politely, effectively and efficiently. To give prompt, articulate responses to our clients in everything we offer internally or for which we have to subcontract, showing that we will always assume the role that minimises the bureaucracy of the procedures required by different entities.
At the beginning of 2014, the plan was approved and the year was encouraging as to the outlined plan. We fully met the financial part, which helped the credibility of the company for the market, including suppliers. The marketing was essential to the creation of a dedicated, attentive, caring business image, namely in actions with the public, openly showing our social responsibility. Then came 2015 and the turnover did not refute the numbers of month-after-month growth. The morale of the team was increasingly higher, reflected in each employee and in the atmosphere felt in the organisation. In 2015 we received an award for Social Responsibility in an event called “The 100 best companies in the Autonomous Region of Madeira” and in 2016 we placed 12th for the best companies to work for, an external sign of the recognition of the work produced.
The economic and financial solidity grew significantly and at the end of 2016 the accounts of the company reflected this fact. Last year was extremely important in terms of the future of the company in the healthcare sector of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, as the shareholder structure underwent a huge change, and now holds around 72% of the HPA Group (one of the five most important health groups in Portugal).
Talk to us about the improvements that were already added to some services this year and those that are planned?
RC: The MMC is located in a strategic part of the city, near the Farmers’ Market (Mercado dos Lavradores), probably the area of the city with the most movement, as well as the trucking centre of the western zone of the island. Besides this, the area is surrounded by five car parks, so there is easy access to the MMC. In my opinion, there could be no better location. We are an integrated diagnostic centre where patients feel that they can satisfy all of their health needs with us, and our slogan – “Everything for Your Health”– perfectly fits what we have to offer. The ground floor occupies around 1,800 m2 in addition to more than 800 m2 on the 4th floor of the building. Patients have access to Diagnostic Imaging, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology Exams as well as consultations in almost every speciality, Clinical Analyses, Dentistry, Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, an advanced centre for injuries and Emergency Service available from 8:00 AM to 11.00 PM.
We were pioneers in outpatient surgery and in 2017, due to the restructuring policy of the HPA Group, we drew up a re-equipment plan, giving a new aspect and offer to this space, managing to give a more effective response and, above all, in responding to a greater number of specialities or surgical techniques.
In this phase we have also installed the software that the Group uses, adapting it to the reality of the MMC and the region itself. We are also developing a strong unifying communication and image plan, for the brands of the Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve, Hospital Particular da Madeira and Madeira Medical Center.
How has the incorporation of the MNC in the HPA Health Group been handled?
RC: The incorporation in the HPA Health Group has been done gradually so that the cultures of both of the companies are assimilated by each of them, and I can affirm that there were quite a lot of common areas in the manner and importance of the priorities of the MMC and the HPA Health Group.
I feel that we are all highly motivated in this huge change in the company, but also for the development of the new Hospital and the merger with a Group I identify with and, for which I wish the greatest success, on the island and nationwide.
Personally I very much wanted to be able to be connected to a group on a national level, to be able in some way to influence the future of private healthcare in the region. I think that this point has been reached in part, or at least on the way to being accomplished, as the HPA Group is already building the Hospital Particular da Madeira (HPM), which will be inaugurated in the last quarter of 2018. After its opening, the market will never be the same again, because the response of the private sector will change significantly and with this, the panorama of the healthcare of the region will also change. These are reasons that this merger gives me great motivation.
How is the practical coordination between the MMC and the Hospital Particular da Madeira envisioned?
RC: Both of the units are part of the HPA Group and therefore all of the work developed will be for the common good, everyone will share the results. We are studying a few operational features, which naturally will be adjusted in accordance with the evolution and feedback the HPA receives. The MMC has its zone of influence and market well positioned and will continue, naturally in close relation with the new Hospital.
What contribution will the Hospital Particular da Madeira give to the development of the region, specifically in Medical Tourism?
HM: Contrary to the large urban and touristic centres of the country, Madeira did not have a private unit with the features the HPM will have. As such, I believe that the impact will be much the same as when this those regions were endowed with modern private health care units. Madeira will be able to count on an alternative to the public health system, providing all technical and human means with quality and safety. An increase in the medical services available will always be an added value for Madeira.
The same argument is valid for the question of tourism, or shall I say, for those who already visit us or are thinking of visiting.
Knowing that there is a health unit with the features of the HPM, tourists/visitors will have more confidence in Madeira as a destination. This is true for senior tourism, for tourists who are under the attention of a doctor for any condition in their country of origin, and can consequently continue this treatment here in Madeira, as well as tourism for families with children or even for the younger generation to enjoy open-air activities.
There are a million Madeirans living abroad. Are any actions planned to reach out to this extensive community?
HM: Without a doubt. Especially in summer, we (in MMC) are popular with a lot of emigrants who take advantage of being on holiday to do some medical exams or consultations with Dr X or Y, with whom they already have a relationship.
Whether because they are “at home” or live far from the urban centre wherever they have chosen to reside, and consequently do not have much access to more specialised medical centres, the truth is that a lot of emigrants use a stay in Madeira to deal with their health. These reasons put into perspective that we are doing assertive work, aimed at this community.
ALREADY ABOVE THE GROUND FLOOR
In São Martinho, Funchal, the work is progressing within the established deadlines and of the seven floors in the project, five have already been completed. This will soon be the Hospital Particular da Madeira (HPM), a unit that hopes to become the best-known healthcare centre for the Madeirans, but also a model in the area of Health Tourism for the thousands of tourists who visit the island each year.
With an installation area of around 13,000 m2, plans for 100 beds and an investment close to 35 million Euros, it will be inaugurated in 2018, in keeping with the pioneering spirit and technological innovation that have characterised the Hospital Particular do Algarve Group since the very beginning.
At the moment, the three underground floors have already been built. This will accommodate two parking levels for 100 vehicles as well as a social area: parapharmacy, hairdresser, stationers, canteen and coffeshop. The -1 level is where the first clinical services will begin: the Imagiology Unit, the Clinical Analysis Laboratory and the Pharmacy, as well as other support and logistic services. The Ground Floor will house the Emergency Service and 30 Outpatient offices and Special Exams (Otolaryngology, Urology, Gastroenterology) as well as the Operating Theatre. The Intensive Care Unit and Maternal-Infant Unit (Labour Room, Gynaecology/Obstetrics and Paediatrics) will be on the 1st floor. The remaining two floors, still under construction, will be for inpatients, divided into suites, single rooms and double rooms.
The expansion to the Island of Madeira has long been a project and strategy of Dr João Bacalhau.
JB: The expansion to Madeira actually has an emotional ancestry for me, because as everyone knows, I am a Madeiran. However, that was not the deciding factor. I am convinced that Madeira is a noted worldwide tourist destination whose sustainability is made viable, among others means, by offering excellent quality and, unique world-class healthcare. The HPA has all of these characteristics, which is why we believe that our know-how will be an asset for the region.
One of the strategies will be creating partnerships with other health services as well as state-run health centres.
JB: In terms of health, it is obvious that the Madeira Medical Center (MMC) occupies a prominent place, as it also belongs to the HPA Health Group. However, other networks and relationships are also considered.
The Hospital Particular da Madeira is a project for the Madeirans and for the autonomous region of Madeira. It only makes sense to be developed in this perspective, with the cooperation and involvement of all of the players in this area, also including, as is natural, the Regional Government, as the fundamental body of the region. As to the subsystems, we are planning exactly the same, which is a management strategy that is present in all of our units. In regard to other health units, we are also ready to establish ties. Of course, the Madeira Medical Center will always be a favoured partner because it actually belongs to the HPA Health Group. This means that an MMC patient is an HPM patient, as they are all part of the HPA Group.
Despite not having started job interviews yet, contacts for contracting by Human Resources have already begun and there have been quite a few candidates through the HPA Group website.
JB: We are enormously satisfied with the reception and interest that the professionals have demonstrated. We have already set up a lot of meetings and contacts, some of which are already finalised. We also know that many candidacies have come through the website. Clearly in a complex and special structure such as a hospital, the contracting needs to be established in phases. We expect to contract around 400 employees, however, we do not know at this time the percentage to be attributed to the different professional groups. This definition will be, in some form, dependent on the evolving trends that the different specialities and sectors manage to establish. But we are certain that we can count on many Madeirans.
HONOUR THE PAST, CHALLENGE THE FUTURE
Located in the town of São Brás de Alportel, the SIIPEMOR Clinic has gained prestige with the local population, mostly due to the emotional relationship and proximity that its administrators, João Moreno and Sandra Pereira have managed to establish and strengthen.
This year a new challenge was launched: to integrate the HPA Health Group and build a brand new unit.
How many years has the SIIPEMOR Clinic been open and what led to its creation?
JM: The clinic was founded in 2012, and came about as the result of a change in career paths of its founders. With the creation of the business and the way it unfolded, we detected a demand for some services that did not exist in the municipality. Recognising this opportunity, we began the investment and fortunately the market responded, allowing sustained routines and the respective growth.
The close relationship with the population was always a criteria of the development of SIIPEMOR. For example, the Health Card and the extensive network of protocols.
JM: One of the pillars of the foundation of this company was giving due importance to human values that we believe are fundamental, such as respect for other people and honesty. From the very first day, the clients who came to us felt that in our clinic, they were treated with full attention, respect and care. Our clients’ health is indispensable for us and they feel more and more that the SIIPEMOR Clinic is their refuge when any health problems arise. Consequently, our objective has always been to improve all of our strengths so that our clients feel that we are truly on their side, in trying to resolve their problems.
Since the beginning we have cultivated the culture of closeness. We try to establish connections with various associations and communities, and this gave rise to an important symbiosis among everyone involved. On one hand, it gives us a way to publicise the services of the clinic to a larger base, and on the other hand it permits us to give some benefits to the associates, namely in access to certain services.
Our card, now called the Care Card SIIPEMOR, is an example of inclusion in a variety of contexts. We can retain the loyalty of several thousand patrons and create a value network between the Clinic and the beneficiaries of the card.
What does the integration in the HPA Health Group represent and what challenges stand out in this relationship?
JM: The integration in the HPA Group represents a natural path of a micro-company that grew and needed to add value to it. Within the circumstances that the market dictated, giving rise to a constant growth, 4 years later there was a need to consolidate strategies and bring more value to the project. With the integration in the HPA Group it was possible to gain access to very important know-how, fruit of the experience and of the many years that the HPA Group already operates in the health industry and, cut down a few deadlines for certain types of investments, namely some equipment. Without the new partnership, we would need a lot more time and, the truth is that the municipality of São Brás is lacking quite a few exams and services.
In terms of services or specialities, what new features will be added to the new SIIPEMOR Clinic?
JM: The new unit was planned and built in such a way as to increase the services and specialities. The new features are: Imagiology, Emergency Service with extended hours, a Mental Health Inpatient Unit (see page 44) and more medical specialties available, such as Dentistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Vascular Surgery, Aesthetic Surgery, among other innovations. In spite of the increase in the services on offer, it is strategic to maintain the positive levels of service as well as the close relations with those who use our services. These are positions we wish to maintain. And additionally, if possible, to further increase our client satisfaction rate.
Will these possibilities give SIIPEMOR a new positioning in local private health, and in the nearby municipalities, autonomously as well as through the integration in the HPA Health Group?
JM: Yes, the construction of this unit, with all of the context involved, will bring to the municipality of São Brás de Alportel and nearby communities a range of services on offer, which we are certain will alter some routines, such as the demand and satisfaction of some services. After the opening of this new unit, the geographical context mentioned above will have available a vast number of services in quantity and quality. Clients will no longer have to travel to other localities, which will reduce not only travel costs but also the inconvenience of having to substantially alter their professional routines.
Another very positive aspect is the fact that clients will be able to benefit from the HPA Group’s network of services. In other words, in case there are any exams/services that are not available in the new unit, the beneficiaries will always have a solution in the rest of the Group, which has a wide offer of services.
Will there also be innovations or more advantages in the scope of the agreements or of the health card, the Care Card SIIPEMOR?
JM: An increase in the benefits associated with the Care Card SIIPEMOR is anticipated. Naturally, with a more services on offer, the beneficiaries will benefit from the new restructuring that we are developing for the services associated with the card.
We are working hard to achieve a few agreements we believe to be important to have available in our new unit, such as, for example, with the ADSE, as there is a large local community that benefits from this subsystem.