Fernando Santiago
Director General
MAG Medical Group
/
View from the Top

Mexico City: Medical Tourism Hub with Great Potential

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 10/26/2020 - 12:51

Q: What are your priorities for the new wing and how will it boost MAG Medical Group’s (MAG Medical) operations?

A: Our new wing means growth for MAG Medical on a whole other scale. It transforms us from a medium-size hospital to a large one with 102 beds and a total of 62 rooms. We are reinforcing our emergency room and many others, which will improve our overall capacity as a hospital. Our goal is to consolidate as the most important hospital in the north of Mexico City, which required state-of-the-art technology. Our US$2.8 million investment on imaging covers tomography, resonance, hemodynamics, X-ray and ultrasound, which will be a watershed for the medical community in our region.

Q: How attractive have your services been to insurance partners?

A: We started MAG Medical with the idea of offering a quality and inviting service. We settled in an area with no hospitals, which really made a difference comparing to other areas of the city, and we focused on offering personalized attention with patient-centered solutions. Quality is not tied to high prices, which is why we have not had to sacrifice the quality of our services, infrastructure or staff. We offer salaries that are 30 percent above the sector’s average to make sure we have the best personnel. Although this may seem like an added cost, it has opened up many doors for us as we have become the go-to hospital for insurers because of our quality and appropriate pricing.

More often than not, hospitals are less mindful of their supplies and prices when the surgery is being paid by an insurer rather than the patient. This leads to higher premiums for the patient and companies. Even though prices depend on the doctor and on the type of surgery, MAG Medical ensures that it is as fairly priced as possible. We have understood that partnerships with insurers help each party grow.

Q: What strategies have you implemented to maintain a high-quality level of service?

A: MAG Medical does 200 to 300 surgeries per month. As we grow, we try to maintain personalized attention because that is what has given us our recognition. Satisfied patients speak for us on their social media and that is something that no hospital can manipulate.

We know that focusing on the patient is extremely important, so we created an initiative to incentivize our staff. It is called the “quality coin.” When a patient is discharged from the hospital, we ask them to give one quality coin to an area with which they had contact, be it the reception, the general studies area, the nursing staff or our medical staff. At the end of the month, we make a tally and the area with the most coins receives an economic reward and a recognition certificate.

Q: What are the strongest areas of opportunity for Mexico City as a medical tourism destination?

A: Mexico City has the same potential as Houston in terms of medical tourism. The quality of professionals we have here is impressive. With appropriate advertising that reflects all these benefits, the city could grow even more than beach destinations. I understand that recovery at the beach can be pleasant but in terms of professionals and services, Mexico City is the best. Hospitals in Mexico City have many certifications, which could really potentiate the city’s reputation. As an added value, the city offers many other amenities for patients and their families for after their recovery.

As president of the Mexico City Cluster for Medical Tourism, one of my goals is to organize a congress for medical tourism here in the city to really position Mexico City as an attractive destination. I have had talks with the city government but we are still working things out on how to best market this and make the panorama more attractive. In cities like Merida, Chihuahua or Tijuana, governments are really setting the base to ensure that medical tourism is exploited. Mexico City has not yet had the same focus, even though it is the state with the most complete medical offering.

Q: What regulations are needed on the medical tourism front?

A: Fiscal incentives would be a positive initiative. However, what I really consider necessary and that would be a game-changer for medical tourism would be dissemination of information from the government. MAG Medical is convinced about the potential Mexico has as a medical tourism destination and we have already started to train our staff to be able to attend foreigners. We teach everyone English and we make sure that all our information and banners are in English. Most importantly, we take care of administrative processes, making sure that all the required documents are always on time and in order. Documentation is of great importance for these procedures. We also know that communication is very important when foreigners receive treatment. If a patient does not feel understood, this will generate a negative experience.

The most sought-out treatments for medical tourism are bariatric surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics and ophthalmology. These are the areas with the highest demand in Mexico and in my opinion, Mexico City could stand out easily with its current medical offering.

Q: How could the government increase the availability of medical staff in Mexico’s rural areas?

A: Education could be a game-changer in this matter. I think that having a greater educational offering related to healthcare would change our reality. Mexico has good general doctors who do not specialize due to the lack of opportunity to access certain programs, which really damages our medical offering.

Q: What are three main goals for MAG Medical in 2020?

A: My main goal is to stick to our model. Thanks to this we are soon going to be able to expand our services with a new wing. I want MAG Medical to preserve its high quality and patient-centric attention. We are now going to have new infrastructure with state-of-the-art technology, which will help us consolidate as the hospital with the best medical staff and service.

As a business, it is important to remain profitable but I do think that our plans are putting us in the right place to grown even further in the next few years. We have expansion plans for new locations to take our model to different areas of Mexico City.

 

MAG Medical Group is a hospital in Mexico City with cardiology, plastic surgery, endocrinology and gynecology services, among many other areas. The hospital also offers laboratory services, including X-rays, clinical analysis and ultrasound

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst