Miguel Prida

Teaching Businesses to Prioritize Health

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:45

The health of employees in the workplace can sometimes be ignored by businesses focused on their bottom lines. But the issue is gaining relevance as the government and companies realize the benefits of having a healthy workforce, explains Miguel Prida, President of Consulmed, a health services administrator that insures over 500,000 users with a broad network of hospitals, doctors and suppliers.

Employee healthcare is not only good for workers, it is also good for companies since injuries disrupt the work environment and can potentially result in damaged property and equipment. By developing and enforcing safety workplace practices, companies can reduce or even eliminate costs associated with liability compensation and litigation, Prida says. Furthermore, having healthy employees generates a more productive and efficient workforce. “This area has boomed during this presidential administration as the federal government and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) have demanded that companies with more than 100 employees provide medical services,” he says.

However, many companies still have a negative perception of occupational health. “We have to convince them that improving the health of their employees is not an expense but a necessity,” Prida says. “This service is also 100-percent tax deductible, helps companies reduce the cost of their risk premiums and reduces the need for major medical expenses.” The benefits for employers are significant, Prida adds. “The first is the reduction of the risk premium. The second is a reduction in employee absenteeism and third is accident prevention. These schemes have been excellent for employee retention as workers are often grateful to receive medical attention in their offices.”

Consulmed has four business units. The first, which is the company’s core business, is occupational health through medical services administration. Second is pharmacy, which has grown enormously as laboratories are increasingly interested in helping patients follow treatments and achieve stable health. Third is the Integral Medical Protection (PMI) membership, only available for companies through a broker or an insurer. The final division is health supplies, in which “we supply our clients the medicines and medical equipment that they need as every company with over 100 employees must have a medical office on its premises,” explains Prida.

The company provides personalized services according to a client’s needs. Consulmed works only with businesses with more than 100 employees, but the company wants to develop a series of products that will allow the company to provide services to smaller companies. “Our goal is to establish clinics for occupational health within industrial parks, a service that does not exist at this point.” According to Prida, these clinics would be ideal for companies with less than 100 employees working closely within an industrial park.

Another initiative under development by Consulmed is the creation of several “infusion centers” in which patients can receive medication that requires specific equipment to administer. “For these medications, patients often must go to IMSS or a private hospital, which is either too time consuming or expensive. These centers will be linked with insurance companies and will allow companies to reduce their costs by 50 percent in comparison to a private hospital.” These clinics have significant potential, according to Consulmed, especially if they are connected with foreign insurers. “One attractive area for these clinics is Mexico’s beaches, as foreign tourists who are sick do not have anywhere to source this type of medication. We are allying with a travel agency from the US, so patients who need this service can acquire it jointly with their vacation passage.”

Consulmed’s product has proven to be attractive. “Between 2009 and 2017 we have enjoyed double-digit annual growth of over 25 percent on average. Many have complained that 2017 was a hard year but we grew by 33 percent.” This growth has allowed the company to become a fully Mexican success story. “Consulmed, which will turn 10 years old in 2018, was acquired from Canadian and US companies and we made it fully Mexican.”