Mumbai: Private health-care providers across the country are looking to expand their presence in smaller cities and towns by getting into partnerships with state governments.
Fortis Healthcare Ltd has initiated talks with the Punjab government to set up and run hospitals and medical colleges in the state. According to Fortis executive chairman, Harpal Singh, the New Delhi-based health-care company will start a not-for-profit foundation soon. “The foundation will enter into an agreement with the Punjab government and this public-private partnership venture will then take projects forward,” said Singh.
To begin with, the foundation is likely to be associated with some of the government hospitals in the state. “We will take up operations and management of some hospitals, and subsequently, look at extending the partnership to set up teaching institutes and possibly new hospitals,” Singh said. The government will make investments in these ventures, while the health-care company will bring the know-how and top-up resources.
Wockhardt Hospitals Ltd is also talking to the Karnataka government for a similar agreement to run some of its hospitals. “State governments have invested heavily in developing significant capacity in public health-care infrastructure. Most of this infrastructure is not used optimally, and hence, the private sector has a huge potential to transform health-care delivery,” said Vishal Bali, CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals.
Recently, Wockhardt took over the management of the government-owned Civil Hospital in Palanpur, Gujarat. This project too will run on a public-private partnership model. The Gujarat government will continue to deploy funds allocated to the hospital and, if required, Wockhardt will invest in upgrading the facilities.
Health-care major, Apollo Hospitals Ltd, too has some public-private partnerships with some state governments. The Karnataka government had invested Rs60 crore in a super-speciality hospital in Raichur, called Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Hospital, as this economically backward region had no modern health facilities, forcing people to travel long distances to seek specialist medical care. When it became difficult for the state to run it due to a lack of specialist doctors, the Apollo Group was roped in to manage the hospital. Many states have evinced interest in similar partnerships with private hospitals. States such as Rajasthan and Uttarakhand are believed to have approached Wockhardt Hospitals for such projects.