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'We want to reposition AMRI as one of the fastest growing healthcare players of Eastern India'

Started on - March 11, 2015

After Rupak Barua took over as the Group CEO of Kolkata’s AMRI Hospitals, he has brought about sweeping changes to revive the Group and has laid down investment plans to the tune of Rs 1000 crores in the coming years. He speaks to Express Healthcare and shares more details of his plans and strategies for AMRI.

What is the current holding pattern of the AMRI Hospitals?

Emami Group has bought over the entire stake of the hospital from the promoters, Shrachi Group. The state government too has gradually reduced its stake to less than two per cent in the hospital.

Way back in the 1990s, the West Bengal Government had handed over the administration of ‘Niramoy Polyclinic’, a healthcare unit to SK Todi’s Shrachi Group to develop and run on a PPP model.

What is your message to the family who lost their lives in the tragedy?

The disaster that happened was very unfortunate. We are compassionate towards the victims and the families who lost their near and dear ones. I can only say that we have offered to pay compensation to the families of the deceased but we know that no compensation is enough to fill-up the void. I would not comment further on this, as the matter is sub-judice.

What was the loss following the tragedy at the Dhakuria unit?

Till the tragedy hit AMRI, the leading healthcare unit had an occupancy of nearly 90 per cent and contributed to over 60 per cent of the revenues of the healthcare arm of the group. After it got shut down, the Group suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 250 crores and lost Rs 150 crores more by way of bank interest and charges against loan taken for expansion.

But, inspite of the mounting losses and non-functionality of the unit, the Group did not terminate the services of the 1200-odd employees working at the unit. This proves that the Group is caring and compassionate to the needs of the employees.

The Dhakuria unit has been reopened recently. What are your plans now?

The Dhakuria unit has three parts, main building, Annexe – I & II. In December 2011, Annexe – I was affected and subsequently the entire hospital had to be closed down.

Now in the last three years, the Group has invested Rs 75 crores on revamping the infrastructure and equipment at the Dhakuria unit. After getting all the clearances, finally the OPD has began operations in December 2013 and the IPD started operations in July 2014.

The main building has started with 170 beds and four OTs. It is equipped with PET-CT from GE, 1.5 Tesla MRI from Siemens and flat panel Cath-Lab from Philips. The Annexe–II also has been restarted with a bed strength of 40. The very popular radiology and imaging department will be commissioned shortly with the most advanced SPECT-CT, advanced LINAC, etc.

For the oncology unit, the Group has entered into a technical collaboration with HCG. The entire fire-fighting mechanism of the hospital has been fully revamped and conforms to the latest fire-fighting norms.

What kind of HR policy changes have been introduced?

We have initiated a business process of re-engineering with the focus on the Group concept. We are transforming, reviewing and cleansing up the old processes and practices. Now all the units have to follow the group standard operating principles (SOPs), which are being chalked out keeping patient safety and quality in mind. The SOPs have been created to focus on protocol-based care and service-oriented treatment. The focus is to attain excellence in all three areas of clinical care, ethical standards and operations. The objective is to achieve excellence in all the three areas and to supplement this we have invested substantially in IT. We have implemented the most advanced hospital information system (HIS) with an electronic medical record (EMR) system from iSOFT.

AMRI has tied up with Ziqitiza Healthcare to improve emergency medical care. It has commissioned a fleet of five fully-equipped ambulances in Bhubaneswar and will be soon launching another set of ambulances in Kolkata.

Tell us about your new healthcare project at Bhubaneswar?

It has set up a state-of-the-art 400-bed hospital on the Khandagiri Bypass in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Spread over five acres of land, the hospital has 160 critical care beds and 10 OTs. The first phase of the hospital was commissioned with 250 beds last year.

What are AMRI’s upcoming and future projects?

The Group has ambitious plans of investing Rs 1000 crores, out of which Rs 500 crores has been entailed for the Rajarhat project, Rs 100 crores has been earmarked for the expansion of its Mukundapur unit, Rs 25 crores will be spend on the revamp and procurement of new equipment for the existing unit at Salt Lake, Rs 125 crores will be spend for re-building the Annexe – I in Dhakuria and Rs 250 crores will be set aside for funding future expansion plans. We want to re-position AMRI as one of the fastest growing healthcare players of Eastern India.

AMRI is coming up with a 400-bed hospital and nursing college on a five acres plot of land at Rajarhat, New Town in Kolkata. The construction would start shortly and is likely to be commissioned by 2017. It will entail an investment of Rs 500 crores. We would soon finalise upon the different specialties.

As per our plans, the Group will be soon setting up another tower at its Mukundapur unit, with 100 more beds. It will be equipped with 128-slice CT Scan, 1.5 Tesla MRI and flat panel Cath Lab. The Salt Lake unit will be fully revamped and will be equipped with the most advanced technology.

Besides, the management is open to invest further in greenfield or brownfield projects to expand its footprints in other tier I and tier II cities in the region.

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