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Chennai hospital to take over CSI's cardiac units

M. Ramesh

The C.S.I. Kalyani Hospital in Chennai. — Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , March 28

THE Chennai-based heart hospital, Madras Medical Mission, will from Wednesday take over and manage the cardiac units of all the 40-odd hospitals run by Church of South India, following a recent agreement between MMM and CSI.

The CSI has the reach while Madras Medical Mission the technical expertise. The tie-up is a marriage of the two, said Dr Mullasari Ajit, Assistant Director and Head of Cardiology Department, MMM.

MMM intends to make the CSI Kalyani Hospital in Mylapore the hub for all the CSI units in South India. Tele-medicine links are to be established between the Kalyani and other CSI hospitals.

Both CSI and MMM expect the agreement to help increase their revenues. Though both are non-profit organisations, revenue surpluses are sought because money is needed for expansion of service.

For CSI, the cashless tie-up with MMM means a quick, no-cost upgradation of service.

To MMM, the tie-up is one way of getting more patients, as some 40 hospitals will be referring patients to it, fetching more revenues. The hospital's turnover is about Rs 50 crore and profits about Rs 8 crore. The profits are ploughed back into operations and used for expansions. Two years ago MMM opened a Rs 50-crore medical college in Pondicherry.

The hospital has endeavoured to raise profits through three distinct measures. One is marketing itself abroad to get overseas patients. A number of tie-ups with African hospitals have seen foreign patients treble to about 500, or about 10 per cent of the in-patients in the last three years. `Overseas business' also includes revenue from training of foreign nurses and hospital staff. The hospital also recently started trading in medicines and equipment, selling them to its partner-hospitals abroad.

Second, MMM has added other services such as treatment of diabetes, kidney transplant and reproductive medicine. If the heart patients who come to MMM for treatment also have other ailments, they can be treated right there.

The third step is to raise volumes in the low-end of the spectrum - typically, the middle class, where margins are low. This is where the tie-up with CSI is relevant.

Alongside, MMM is also trying to position itself as a heart hospital capable of handling complicated cases, particularly, paediatric. For example, it has publicised the successful `switch' operation on an Iraqi baby. A `switch' rectifies a complicated birth condition where, due to a wrong positioning of blood vessels, the heart pumps oxygen-less blood back into the body, completely by-passing the lungs. At the same time, another blood vessel keeps sending oxygen-rich blood from the lungs back into the heart. A hole in the wall that divides the heart into left and right chambers (that would close down on its own, normally) lets some good blood to flow into the body and allows the baby to live only for a few weeks. In a switch operation, surgeons reconnect the blood vessels. The operation on the Iraqi baby was the sixth consecutive, successful switch performed this year.

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