Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Our International Strategy and the Opening of a new Hospital in Mexico

We have previously discussed the strategic drivers for our CHRISTUS Health umbrella strategy, which is causing us to evolve our portfolio in the next several years to approach the one-third acute care, one-third non-acute care, one-third international services goal.

The last one-third, our international strategy, has been recently expanded with the opening of the new CHRISTUS Muguerza Reynosa Hospital in Reynosa, Mexico, which is directly across the border from McAllen, Texas. Before we discuss the specifics of this new campus, let us connect the dots to the specific drivers of our international strategy.

In 2000, we were called to explore the possibility of entering a partnership with the family who established the Muguerza hospital in Monterrey in the 1950s. We implemented a partnership in 2001, fulfilling our international strategy in Mexico. Based on our brand recognition and our high quality of care and driven by our Journey to Excellence, we were invited to expand into other hospitals in Monterrey and then into hospitals in other states in Mexico.

Along with this expansion, we developed an adjacency strategy, which includes our convenient clinics and our ambulance services and also developed a separate corporation to care for the poor in each community into which we expand. This corporation, known as Adaleida Lafón, now consists of six clinics and short-stay hospitals with the plan to open in three additional locations in 2008. In addition, the adjacency strategy will encompass the development of a senior campus program which will hopefully be implemented in 2009.

So where does Reynosa fit into these strategies? An additional direction to our international strategy, which was developed in 2006, was to look into building new hospitals and clinics in communities directly across the U.S. border in Mexico where there are 400,000 people or more who do not have reasonable access to high-quality health care presently. Nearly 40 communities fit this description, and Reynosa is the first one where we have fully implemented a strategy in response to the great need identified.

At present, we are identifying the next two sites for similar campuses and will use the learnings from a thorough debriefing on the Reynosa experience to make sure these future projects are done even more efficiently and effectively. The reason these are being identified as cross-border strategies for CHRISTUS Health is that people in the proximal U.S. communities have the ability both to walk and drive across the border to seek health care in the state-of-the-art clinical campuses. Thereby we are meeting the needs of both U.S. and Mexican citizens while at the same time enhancing our cultural competency in delivering health care to the growing Hispanic communities in the United States.

Now, let’s look at the Reynosa project more specifically:
On March 3, CHRISTUS Muguerza Reynosa hospital held a grand opening and blessing ceremony. Reynosa is located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

This hospital required an investment of $19 million U.S. Dollars, and is a 25-bed facility designed to provide primarily outpatient services. Its operating room capacity, imaging capability and patient flow design is a new concept in Mexico.

Reynosa’s ER is the largest emergency room in a private hospital in the entire state of Tamaulipas. The technology in place is of the highest caliber, and the physicians selected to serve on the hospital medical staff have been hand-picked for their excellence in medical care and interest in innovative service delivery.

The innovative ideas in this new model, including facility design, patient flow and through-put processes, medical staff standards and increasing community access to service will be carefully monitored and tested over the next year.

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