Elective surgeries back to 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels: Fortis Healthcare

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on October 26, 2020

Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare (file photo)   -  Bloomberg

Healthcare group on track to add 1,200 beds over the next three years, says MD & CEO

Fortis Healthcare, one of India’s largest integrated healthcare providers, is witnessing close to 70 per cent occupancy across its centres besides registering a surge in elective surgeries and procedures to touch 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels, a senior official of the healthcare chain said.

“Currently, our occupancy levels are hovering at 65-70 per cent, which is still lower than pre-Covid levels. As a network, we have 1,300 beds committed for Covid where the occupancy levels are 70-80 per cent and on the non-Covid side, occupancy levels are 43-45 per cent”, Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD & CEO, Fortis Healthcare, said on Monday.

He was speaking to BusinessLine after the inauguration of a 250-bed multi-speciality hospital at Vadapalani in Chennai.

Fortis opens 250-bed multi-specialty hospital in Chennai

“Ïn terms of the number of surgeries and procedures, we are close to 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels already. In terms of diagnostics (SRL), we are almost 90 per cent of pre-Covid level in terms of test, which is in addition to Covid test that we are doing,” Raghuvanshi added.

The increase in occupancy and patient footfall of Fortis Healthcare sends a healthy signal to private healthcare institutions, which are battered by a sharp drop in elective surgeries and patient footfall ever since the pandemic broke out.

A recent CRISIL report said that the triple whammy of postponement in elective surgeries, revenue loss from the highly profitable medical tourism segment, and increasing costs will lead to 35-40 per cent reduction in operating profits of private hospitals this fiscal.

Covid-19 dents financials of private healthcare sector

International patients

“The numbers are definitely improving. In case of certain specialties such as oncology, neuro surgery and chronic patients with renal disease, etc., they have started coming more and more towards normal,” Raghuvanshi said, adding: “The only specialty where the drop is very significant is orthopaedic and emergency cardiac procedures which have not normalised as of now but certainly the numbers are creeping towards normalcy.”

International patients account for 10-15 per cent of total patient inflow for Fortis Healthcare. However, the segment was severely affected over the last few months due to the pandemic-led lockdown and travel restrictions.

“We have started seeing some (international) patients coming in. Government is also proactive in giving permissions. So, we are already seeing patients coming from some regions in Africa, Mauritius, Yemen and Iraq,” Raghuvanshi said.

“Currently, the international patient inflow is only 4-5 per cent of what it used to be. As travel restrictions ease out, that’s when this will normalise. Our estimate is that travel restrictions are going to be there for another six months so I don’t expect international patients inflow to normalise over the next six months.”

Expansion plans

On future expansion plans, he said the healthcare group is very much on track with its earlier announcement of adding 1,200 beds in the next three years.

“We have already begun the process of construction in many of our hospitals. In some places, we have existing buildings and we just need to do the interiors so that plan remains intact. In the next three years, we will be adding 1,200 beds to our existing facilities and we will be able to do this expansion from internal accruals alone,” Raghuvanshi said.

Fortis’ new facility at Vadapalani is a 9-storey building spread across 150,000 square feet. The facility, inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, features 75 ICU beds, six operation theatres, three minor operation theatres and procedure rooms, along with emergency and casualty beds, a state-of-the-art Cath Lab and a host of other world-class facilities. The healthcare chain already has a hospital at Adyar.

Published on October 26, 2020

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