Miguel Velázquez, CEO of Grupo Empresarial MDF, spoke to Mexico Health Review on market opportunities for hospital infrastructure.
Q: What are the main lessons learned by Grupo Empresarial MDF after 14 years of working in the health industry?
A: The regulations and regulatory frameworks for the construction of hospitals in Mexico have changed over time and COFEPRIS has been key to achieving a better framework for medical infrastructure. Before, it was very easy to obtain health licenses and build hospitals regardless of regulations. Also, it was thought that any architect could build a hospital because there was no emphasis on the conditions that are now necessary to build a health institution. This evolution has benefited Grupo Empresarial MDF, which absolutely adheres to official health regulations; the company does not build a project that is not accepted by the authority itself.
Q: What details have you have mastered when planning and building specialized facilities?
A: In comparison to other companies, MDF focuses not only on planning and building hospitals of greater quality, but also follows up this process with proper documentation. Quality in construction is not only found in the physical parts of a project but also in the documents that explain in detail how the building was built. MDF always tells its clients there is a difference between spending and investing. While an expense has no return of benefits, an investment always does. MDF offers its clients an investment opportunity.
Q: How do your consultancy services benefit the hospitals and clinics you collaborate with?
A: Grupo Empresarial MDF’s business model goes beyond building and planning construction projects for the health sector. The company provides counseling services based on marketing and business studies to maximize its clients’ business opportunities. For example, MDF worked with a client that wanted to build four towers of rental medical offices in front of a hospital. MDF evaluated the project and showed that the hospital would benefit more from the construction of the towers than our client. For the same investment, MDF presented a proposal based on the current trend of building smaller hospitals or clinics close to bigger hospitals to transform those four towers into a hospital that would deliver areas of care not covered the other hospital. While the original project expected a return on investment of 14 years, the hospital designed by Grupo Empresarial MDF offered a return on investment of six years.
Q: According to the OECD, promoting the construction of hospitals in Mexico could bolster access to health. What is Grupo Empresarial MDF’s view?
A: Health in Mexico is poor because the private and public health systems together cannot cover more than 60 percent of demand. Today, health has become a business and the market has evolved with greater specialization. Before, ophthalmic surgery required a patient see a specialist who later recommended a hospital to carry out the surgery. Now, most of these surgeries are done in ophthalmic clinics. Clinics are filling the gaps left by large hospitals and offering greater specialization at more competitive prices. This dynamic is bringing health services closer to the population, but also encouraging service providers to focus more on patient care. Clinics and other similar institutions have been able to modify healthcare in Mexico with greater speed and at lower prices than traditional options. In the end, the combination of both hospitals and clinics creates a much wider coverage that generates greater access and quality.
Q: Who are MDF’s main clients and what is the ideal public-private mix?
A: Our clients are mostly in the private sector because, unfortunately, we have not been able to collaborate with the government. Government projects are conditioned to the payment of a quota to obtain the construction tender. Grupo Empresarial MDF wants to build not only business opportunities but also better opportunities to provide greater access to health in Mexico. If someone from the government arrives with a clear and honest project that considers the health of Mexicans, we will accept it.