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Interview of the week: Alejandro Alfonso, CEO of ABC Medical Center



Q: How is ABC Medical Center cooperating with the public sector?

A: The healthcare situation in Mexico demands private hospitals work together with the government. It is not economically viable for the government to meet healthcare service demands by itself. The key is to find the right way to make this happen to avoid the perverse incentives that exist in the private and public sector which pollute association. ABC Medical Center has been working with public healthcare through Seguro Popular and by offering occasional services to other government institutions. As a not-for-profit institution, we can afford to treat patients below cost and this is important because helping those who do not have enough resources is a part of our founder’s legacy. The challenge is to determine the price the government can pay for these services and how economically and clinically efficient we can be as a private hospital when providing this aid. If there are no clear rules about the quality and affordability, we may enter a situation wherein we can no longer help the population.

I am concerned about the decision to create general hospitals without a structured business plan. The world “general” by itself might be counter-productive because it suggests the hospital can treat any manner of illnesses and it does not highlight the public’s true needs. A general hospital is not built based on a study of the population and popular diseases. For its construction, rent is paid to a private company, which fulfils its construction and installation contract, at which point the government takes operational control of that hospital. The little money this general hospital receives is spent paying the private company and there is not enough left to treat patients, which indebts the government.

Instead, to improve existing services there should be an inventory of the country’s hospital capacity and an analysis on how they could be better used. There are empty surgical theaters at certain times of the day in private hospitals that could be used by the queues of people in public hospitals.

This is an excerpt of an interview to be published in Mexico Health Review 2017 – to nominate your company for an interview please contact Marta Aguilar mag@mexicobusinesspublishing.com


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