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28 Jan 2013
Mid-size hospitals mushroom in city

Mid-size hospitals mushroom in city
Malathy Iyer TNN
Mumbai: Mega-hospitals with hundreds of beds and as many parking slots are not the only ones growing in popularity and revenues. Now, mid-sized entities—or minihospitals with 70 to 100 beds each—are mushrooming across the city’s suburbs and satellite towns. The reason for their popularity, say experts, is that they are more often than not conveniently located within neighbourhoods.

From eye care to laparoscopic surgery to orthopedic procedures, these smaller hospitals offer families the option to seek healthcare right next-door. Given the exorbitant real estate prices, it is easier to set up a 70-bed hospital in a suburb that is otherwise short on healthcare options. So, there is an Advanced Eye Hospital and Vasan Eye Care in Vashi, Nova Surgery Centres in Chembur, Platinum Hospital in Mulund and Vasai, and Bethany Hospital in Thane.

“Around 70% of the healthcare needs in the country are attended to by the secondary healthcare system. There is, hence, a lot of activity in this segment across the country,” said Dr Vivek Desai of HOSMAC, a healthcare management consultancy. Healthcare providers can be divided into three sections—primary healthcare centres (which are essentially doctor-based clinics), secondary centres that offer care and operations (like a nursing home or small hospitals) and tertiary healthcare centres (which give high-end special surgeries and intensive care). “The last segment, or mega hospitals, account for only 30% of the healthcare volume,” said Desai.
     Today, it is possible for some procedures to be done in a day or on short-stay basis. “People save on money and hospitals get to do more procedures, getting better volumes,” said the doctor.
     Experts say health insurance is one of the reasons for the proliferation of mini-hospitals. Heart surgeon Bijoy Kutty, who set up Platinum Hospitals in Mulund and Vasai, said, “The majority of people who have medical insurance have a cover of barely Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. They don’t want to go to public hospitals, but cannot afford a fivestar hospital either.”

Authored By: Malathy Iyer