Health Management International Ltd (“HMI” or the “Group”) is a growing regional private healthcare provider with presence in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. HMI owns two tertiary hospitals in Malaysia – Mahkota Medical Centre in Malacca and Regency Specialist Hospital in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. The Group also owns HMI Institute of Health Sciences in Singapore, and a network of 17 representative offices in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Ms Chin Wei Jia, the Group Chief Executive Officer of HMI, first joined HMI as a Management Trainee in 2002, after completing her Master’s degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins University. As Management Trainee, Wei Jia was involved in the business operations at a very hands-on level and got acquainted with the complex details and operational constraints of running a healthcare company. During this period, HMI was undergoing restructuring to focus on providing healthcare services in Malaysia and converting its Singapore business from providing healthcare services to healthcare education services instead. In her early days at HMI, one of the first few lessons that Wei Jia encountered was the difficulty of managing change, financing, staffing challenges and supplier demands during business restructuring. This experience offered Wei Jia valuable lessons in managing the business beyond the numbers and ingrained in her the importance of building resilience and fostering innovation for business sustainability during both good and challenging times. Guided by the value of improving lives through quality healthcare and education, Wei Jia went through a steep learning curve and contributed to the growth of HMI in her various capacities over the years to build HMI into a fast-growing healthcare group listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of S$550 million today.
Mahkota Medical Centre (“Mahkota”), established in 1994, was loss making when HMI took a management contract and small stake of the hospital in 1998. HMI immediately implemented a comprehensive restructuring plan including the introduction of a new business partnership model adapted from the Singapore private healthcare practice, where doctors are able to buy medical suites from the hospital. Through disciplined execution of the restructuring plan, HMI managed to turn around the loss-making hospital in just two years, and no doctor who has bought a medical suite has left the hospital.
Over the years, HMI invested in the growing of the medical tourist segment of the business. Mahkota was one of the early movers in attracting patients from Indonesia with its first representative office set up across the Straits of Malacca in Pekan Baru in 1999. Today, Mahkota has become a leading medical tourism hospital, as well as the largest private tertiary hospital in South Malaysia with an expanding suite of healthcare services. Wei Jia has also continued to work closely with doctors and the management team to build Centres of Excellence in order to continuously improve and provide quality and comprehensive care to all patients. As an example, Mahkota is the first and the only hospital in Malacca state to offer nuclear medicine services that detect early stages of cancer with a high degree of sensitivity, with the launch of its Positron Emission Tomography – Computed Tomography scanner services in early 2017. Wei Jia also contributed to the establishment of HMI’s healthcare education business in 2002. The HMI Institute strongly believes in lifelong learning and has constantly reviewed and upgraded their courses to keep up with the changing healthcare industry needs. Today, the HMI Institute is a Skills Future Singapore accredited Continuing Education and Training Centre for the healthcare support sector, and has trained over 110,000 individuals in healthcare and life-saving skills.
In 2009, HMI expanded its business with the official launch of Regency Specialist Hospital (“Regency”), after completing the commissioning and retrofitting of an empty hospital building in eastern Johor. Wei Jia was part of the core team that first commissioned Regency in 2008 and served as CEO of Regency from 2013 to 2016. Building up Regency was a challenge due to the limited budget and resources it had as a new hospital. Some of her immediate goals included building awareness for the hospital, attracting well-qualified doctors to join, as well as actively engaging and developing staff.
A firm believer of community contribution, one of the key strategies Wei Jia identified was to engage the community through conducting programmes in partnership with NGOs. These included providing complimentary health talks and health screenings as well as participating in national healthcare campaigns, which gradually helped establish Regency’s reputation as a caring private hospital.
With much perseverance and a never-say-die attitude, Wei Jia developed Regency into one of the fastest growing private hospitals in Malaysia, and one that is developing to become a “one-stop” hospital where complex cases get referred to. Regency is currently the only private hospital in Malaysia to have a 24-hour A&E manned by emergency specialists. Over the last five years from FY2012 to FY2016, HMI’s total group revenue grew at a CAGR of 17.4% while its EBITDA grew at a CAGR of 30.4%.
Moving forward, Wei Jia sees medical tourism as a major growth driver for the Malaysian healthcare sector, as Malaysia is increasingly viewed as a target healthcare destination by medical tourists given the availability of well-qualified and experienced medical specialists, quality healthcare services and an attractive ringgit exchange rate. Malaysian healthcare tourism experienced double-digit growth over the past five years and according to estimates from Frost & Sullivan, this will continue to expand at a CAGR of 18.5% between 2014 and 2020. HMI currently holds about 10% share of the Malaysian medical tourism market and is looking to expand, grow its market share through outreach to foreign patients, especially those from Indonesia. In March 2017, HMI achieved a major milestone with the completion of the consolidation of ownership in its two hospitals to 100%. The consolidation is part of HMI’s strategy to create an enlarged platform for regional growth. It also unlocks immediate value to HMI’s shareholders, creating a clearer ownership structure and one where 100% of the hospitals’ earnings are attributable to shareholders.
In 2017, Mahkota will be undergoing a facelift, which involves the addition of a new ward and clinics. It will also offer more outpatient services, and further develop its Centres of Excellence. Stronger partnerships with doctors will continue to forge to develop more comprehensive services by each clinical discipline. Also, keeping up-to-date and investing in medical technologies, treatment options and trends are integral the Group’s development as a healthcare provider.
At Regency, the Group plans to build a new hospital extension block which will effectively double Regency’s capacity by adding more beds, clinics, operating theatres as well as inpatient and outpatient facilities. With an estimated construction cost of RM160 million (approximately S$51 million), this development will make Regency one of the largest private hospitals in Malaysia. As Group CEO leading the business today, Wei Jia believes she is in a good position to make a positive impact. As a healthcare service provider, HMI is not just a for-profit business, it is also a business committed to the provision of healthcare services and outreach for the betterment of the communities it operates in.