CEO of Medcorp Ltd
writhing in pain, is brought to hospital for surgery on his broken leg.
Standard procedure at most of the countrys hospitals.
at St Clair Medical Centre, an administrator would probably be enquiring
about the families ability to pay even as the patient is being
wheeled on to the ward for the emergency surgery.
Medical Centre is perceived by many to be an expensive medical facility
making a financial killing by providing services some of which are not
readily available in the public sector, mostly to a wealthy clientele.
Kalloo, group CEO of Medcorp Ltd that owns St Clair Medical Centre,
says this perception is actually far from the truth.
he noted Medcorps 50 shareholders are yet to get serious returns
on their investment.
dont make obscene profits and Ill also let you know that
no substantial dividends have been paid, Kalloo says.
fact, its a bone of contention with some of the shareholders now.The
profits that have been made, which arent gross, have been reinvested
in technology: CT scanners, the latest neurosurgery equipment and stuff
argued people who criticise the cost of the services offered at St Clair
Medical are often making comparisons to the public health care sector
where most patients do not pay out of pocket before receiving medical
citizens who receive the so-called free public health care
are actually paying for it in their taxes and have no idea what it costs
to maintain state-owned hospitals.
Government had done costings in terms of what they deliver, although
it is a free service, then I put it to you that you will realise that
St Clair isnt expensive nor are some of the private institutions,
that doctors fees are not included in the bill of patients who
use or are hospitalised at St Clair Medical except if they were treated
at the Accident & Emergency section which has staff doctors.
profits of St Clair Medical, or the lack thereof, is related totally
to a combination of provision of medical supplies and services,
Kalloo said. It has nothing to do with doctors fees.
Medcorp first acquired St Clair Medical nine years ago it was on the
brink of receivership and Kalloo said the company does not intend to
revisit those financial difficulties.
unapologetic tone, he noted, My priority as the CEO of this organisation,
(and I am a businessman and not a doctor), is to take this and make
it the best investment for the shareholders who have hired me. That
does not preclude me saying that dividends wont be paid in the
future and I am not running this place as a business, because I am.
Kalloo said there are always exceptions to the rule where life and death
situations outweigh costs.
have unwritten rule here but it is a rule nonetheless and thats
what I work with. I am one of the few people who can give clearances
in other words you havent paid the deposit, or you dont
have the appropriate insurance etc to say to go ahead with health
who is critical, meaning dying, we deal with it and then we look to
see how we deal with the ongoing care.
other words, if it is there isnt appropriate financing or funding
in place, we make the arrangements to transfer them back to Port-of-Spain
General if that is what is required.
What is Medcorp Ltd?
St Clair Medical Centre, once called Parks Nursing Home was acquired
by Medcorp Ltd, a group of private medical facilities, in 1994.
also owns the following facilities:
Health Medical Centre,
Heart Care/Medcorp Ltd
group CEO Ian Kalloo said the company is a private enterprise which
has 50 shareholders who are businessmen, doctors and some private investment
refused to identify any of Medcorps shareholders.
refused to reveal the companys profit margins or any details concerning
the groups financial performance.
Medical Centre is primarily a tertiary care provider of health services
which involves the treatment of serious ailments such as heart disease,
diabetes and cancer as well as major surgeries.
explained patients usually pay an advance deposit on what St Clair Medical
perceives to be the cost of the relevant service provided.
from the doctors fee, St Clair Medicals fee includes:
theatre by usage
surcharge by usage.
is involved the anaesthetist charges are separate.
health care for profit?
has sought the advice of the executives of private medical facilities
like the St Clair Medical Centre to find ways to improve the efficiency
of public health care facilities.
Kalloo is one of several private hospital executives now advising Government
on this initiative.
dont want to pre-empt any findings of the Vision 20/20 sub-committee
but there are a lot of options. Maybe they charge for a service. Maybe
they have a National Health Insurance Plan that is totally geared towards
health and is managed separately from the NIS fund that we have,
there is a mandatory private insurance to cover certain types of health.
There are a lot of different alternatives and each one should be discussed
at length to determine whats the best way forward.
was interviewed at his office at St Clair Medical on Monday afternoon.
just attended a meeting of the 20/22 sub-committee where Medcorps
chief of staff Dr Ronald Henry made a presentation on the various financing
opportunities available to public health institutions.
a practising cardiologist, made the presentation as the president of
the Private Health Institutions Association which was formed to help
in the delivery of total quality public and private health care throughout
is the PHIAs administrator.
if he felt private institutions like St Clair Medical could be the prototype
for the public health care institutions of the future, Kalloo said,
We do provide a more consistent delivery of health care services
to our niche markets. And if that could be looked upon and tried and
mirrored in terms of the public health sector, then thats fine.
Government has been looking at the issue of the cost of public health
care since the State has long suffered from the deficiencies of an understaffed
and ill-equipped system that receives limited State funding.
point is that the public may not have to pay any fees when they go to
a public health care facility like the Port-of-Spain or San Fernando
General Hospitals because they have already paid for the services when
they pay taxes.
he alluded, the State has been subsidising public health care to the
detriment of the citizens it is meant to serve.
youre not charging revenue for your services at the full cost,
in other words your full cost plus a mark up, then youre going
to run into problems eventually because youre spending more than
youre earning, Kalloo said.
once youre spending more than you earn, youre going pull
back when it comes to paying bills, doctors, nurses or buying pharmaceuticals.
What is going to happen is youre going end up in a problem in
delivering quality health care.
are well known.
sees a link between the problems of the nations public health
care system and the way it is currently being funded.
am saying there is a lack of awareness that health care services are
extremely expensive and that could be a reason why they are having all
these problems in the public sector, Kalloo said.
uncompetitive salaries for doctors and nurses could lead to situations
where the health care professionals go to foreign countries which offer
higher salaries, the latest equipment, the correct stocks, the
linens, whatever it takes to run a hospital.
the beginning of 2003, there have been at least two impasses between
doctors and the Regional Health Authorities over wage packages.
patients complained they received improper or no treatment at the affected
public hospitals during these impasses.
asserted private hospitals like St Clair Medical benefited minimally
from the impasses. Where the public sector was not able to deal
with the sick and ill people at the time, we had to come to the fore
to assist, he explained.