This Monday, the Azores International Hospital (HIA) officially opened, the first private hospital in the region, less than three years after the cornerstone was laid. The company is located in the municipality of Lagoa on the island of São Miguel and represents an investment of around 40 million euros. It currently has around 180 skilled workers.
“At the moment, I think that at the national level, the Azores, along with some inland regions, are already the only region where there is no unit and no project of this kind,” emphasizes the PUBLIC the 20-year-old President of HIA Luís Miguel Farinha long was CFO of the HPA Saúde Group and was responsible for various hospital services in the Algarve.
The new hospital will “increase the installed capacity in the region” and create a “number of important redundancies”. “We bring some areas of differentiation with us that did not exist despite the fact that the region is well served,” he says, using the example of innovations in relation to cardiac surgery, vitrectomy or cosmetic surgery: “We have special features that were not found in the region”.
The HIA marks the beginning of private hospital care in a region with scarce health resources. On an archipelago with nine islands on an area of more than 2.3,000 square kilometers there are three public hospitals, which are divided by the islands of São Miguel, Terceira and Faial and are supposed to care for a population of around 245,000 people. The rest of the islands have health centers.
“We have practically all specialties, almost half a hundred,” emphasizes Luís Farinha and considers the investment to be “fairly complete”. The new hospital with almost 96 beds will begin with around 60 doctors and 120 other specialists. “Then we will grow to higher numbers,” says the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Could the creation of a private hospital in an area where there is also a health professional shortage drain resources from the public sector? “It wasn’t our model,” replies the person in charge. Luís Farinha points out that the HIA “was essentially trying to get doctors from the continent.” For doctors who have already worked in the region, plans have been made so that the work of professionals in the private sector does not collide with that of the public.
“For doctors who have already worked in the region but also want to take advantage of the private offer, we gave them this opportunity, but organized things in such a way that they did not compete with the public,” he explains. For this reason he comes to the conclusion: “No one was hired by the hospital staff” Divino Espírito Santo, the public hospital on São Miguel Island.
The total investment by HIA was around 40 million euros. The majority shareholder in the capital is Diagonal Stream with 51%, led by Luís Farinha. The Germano de Sousa Group with a share of 5% is one of the shareholders of the new hospital.