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Bursting At The Seams, HIMA Plans Major Expansion In 2004

Management also working on two new projects, including P.R.’s first hospital devoted exclusively to the care of mothers & children


December 25, 2003
Copyright © 2003 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Hospital Interamericano de Medicina Avanzada (HIMA) is bursting at the seams and has no choice but to expand.

"We are a general hospital and it is indispensable that we grow. We are operating at 99% capacity," said Chief Executive Officer Joaquin Rodriguez, adding that HIMA also is in the process of planning two important projects representing a combined investment of some $45 million.

The most immediate task, however, is increasing the hospital’s capacity, now strained to the point that HIMA is sometimes forced to turn patients away. Rodriguez said HIMA plans to boost its current floor space of 360,000 square feet by another 100,000 square feet. This will enable it to add an additional 181 beds for a total capacity of 520. Construction, slated to begin next year, will take 24 months and cost $10 million. Additionally, the hospital will address its parking situation; right now, it can accommodate 1,000 cars, but 1,643 spaces will be added after construction of a four-story, $18 million parking structure. Construction is expected to take about 18 months, he said, adding that Western Bank will finance both projects. Looking beyond these immediate needs, HIMA is also preparing to move in a new direction by specializing in mother-child care and sub-intensive care.

Rodriguez said HIMA will build what might very well be Puerto Rico’s first hospital devoted to the care of mothers and their children alike. The 150-bed, 12-story circular building designed by architect Ivan Fracinetti is still in the conceptual stage. What is certain is that it will be built and that it will cost around $30 million, Rodriguez said. HIMA currently delivers 300 babies each month, and the new hospital would be able to handle as many as 500 births per month.

The second project is a 120-bed hospital for the care and rehabilitation of patients requiring less-than-intensive care, such as those recovering from traffic accidents or suffering from conditions that force them to be bedridden permanently or for an extended period. Rodriguez said the facility, projected to cost $15 million, would attend to patients in need of rehabilitation or requiring short-term care of one or two months. It would also offer special training to relatives in charge of caring for patients who require long-term care.

Rodriguez said HIMA, which has consistently shown a profit over the past five years, experienced a good year in 2003 but did not do as well as had been expected. Several factors conspired to undermine the hospital’s performance. In addition to having to turn patients away, Rodriguez mentioned higher costs—including a large malpractice suit that set the hospital back $600,000—and a drop in business which he could not explain but seems always to precede an election year. He said business goes back up during the election year.

HIMA’s revenue for 2003 should reach $110 million, compared with $103 million in 2002, said Rodriguez.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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