Varied Healthcare Portfolio Helps Brave PandemicBy Miriam Bello | Wed, 11/04/2020 - 10:49
Q: How did Grupo Consulmed face the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: The first two months of the pandemic were difficult because a large number of our health personnel who were at the front line and could not continue working as they were among the vulnerable groups to COVID-19, either by age or by suffering from a chronic degenerative disease. They were sent home by indications and government orders, however, we made sure that none of those doctors or nurses lost their jobs. This was a challenge from a financial perspective that Grupo Consulmed had to continue paying salaries at 100 percent. Another problem was also that our clients had fewer staff in their facilities, which forced them to suspend operations.
In addition to our occupational health service, Grupo Consulmed has other business units that helped us face the pandemic, such as the supply of medicines, healing materials and medical equipment and that was strengthened during the pandemic, since we incorporated products that were essential to combat COVID-19. As a long-standing trusted provider of medical supplies, we faced little competition from companies that sporadically started offering these products. Our sales in this division grew by 500 percent, which helped us balance our occupational health and pharmaceutical divisions that had been experiencing financial difficulties.
To date, our balance is recovering as we have experienced even greater demand for our services as companies expanded the number of doctors or nurses in their facilities to ensure the safety of their staff. We also have an IMSS certification that ensures we understand the official guidelines for the new normal.
Q: How has Grupo Consulmed innovated in its business divisions?
A: Our pharmaceutical division suffered four large program cancellations due to the social distancing measures that inhibited presential visits to laboratories. However, we are working on different approach programs to support chronic patients, such as home visits to follow-up on their treatment.
Our membership division also grew but instead of offering presential visits, we migrated to phone and digital consultations. To this service we added psychological and thanatology attention and medical orientation in case of a suspected COVID-19 case. Our occupational health service works with clinical laboratories and has been supporting them with COVID-19 diagnostic tests or other specialized services to respond to the pandemic, such as ambulance services.
Due to our service continuity, expertise and reputation, Grupo Consulmed stood its ground during the pandemic. We never sought to abuse prices on supplies or to offer services that we had no experience with. We have been a healthcare provider for years and our clients valued that during the COVID-19 uncertainty.
Grupo Consulmed also allied with MAG Medical Group, which has a strong healthcare offer. Through this strategy, our collaborators are getting healthcare services at preferential prices.
Q: What infrastructure plans does Grupo Consulmed have?
A: We have a project for infusion clinics that will resume after the pandemic comes under control. Together with pharmaceutical companies, we also developed mobile clinics to ensure treatment provision during COVID-19 as fear of contagion kept patients away from hospitals.
Moreover, we are betting on medical tourism and we are interested in developing infusion clinics in the country’s main beach destinations. These are intended as a comfortable way to provide treatment continuity during vacations because we have seen this need among patients, who prefer to wait for treatment rather than bring a companion to a hospital or clinic.
Q: What are the company’s near-term goals?
A: We want to expand our presence and open two subsidiaries, one in Ciudad Juarez and another in Chihuahua. The manufacturing industry there is an attractive market for us. Also, we want to strengthen our offices in Monterrey and Guadalajara. Grupo Consulmed is strengthening the medical supply division to have the same strong offering at all our subsidiaries. Our medical offering is also improving and we are hiring specialists for our occupational health division to reinforce our subsidiaries.
Grupo Consulmed is an administrator of health services serving more than one million users of its clients, it has four business units: occupational medicine, membership for minor medical expenses, patient care programs of the Pharmaceutical Industry and health supplies, medicines, healing materials and medical equipment.