Business Line - May 15, 2013

Date: 15-09-2013

Maharashtra, 2 private firms to set up Rs 150-crore diagnostics project


Touted among largest healthcare PPPs


Over 20 Government hospitals across Maharashtra are set to get round-the-clock diagnostic centres, as part of a three-way alliance between the State Government, privately-owned Ensocare and GE Healthcare.

Touted to be among the country’s largest private-public partnerships in healthcare, the project will see an investment of Rs 150 crore by the London-based Enso group company. The centres would house next-generation versions of diagnostic equipment, including digital radiography, mammography units, analog x-rays, CT scanners and MRI machines, to name a few, all sourced from GE.

The equipment is comparable to those offered by the best private hospitals, but the pricing for patients would be as fixed by the Union Government schemes for imaging, said Maharashtra’s Health Minister Suresh Shetty.

There are categories of people (about 18) who will get the services free, Shetty said, referring to those below the poverty-line, covered by State-run health insurance.

The success of the diagnostics project could trigger other similar models for cancer and heart-related treatments, he indicated. The plan for a diagnostic network dates back eight years, he said, but it had then run into bureaucratic opposition, he added.

The 22 diagnostic centres coming up under the present project include Government healthcare facilities in Pune, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Jalna and Sindhudurg, Nashik, to name a few.

The project is scheduled to be announced, on Friday, by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. In fact, Ensocare has bagged a similar project in Punjab, where it will fork out Rs 110 crore to set up diagnostic facilities in 21 hospitals, said Vaibhav Maloo, Ensocare Chairman. Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the year-end.

Ensocare is part of the Vinay-Maloo-promoted Enso Group that started in 2005 and operates oil and gas exploration and production projects in Jordan, Georgia, Nigeria and Australia. Vinay Maloo had co-founded Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited, but later exited the company.

With activities in infrastructure and real estate, besides having automated products in banking and retail, Ensocare has a commitment of $ 100 million towards healthcare in India, said Vaibhav Maloo.

Akil Khan, Ensocare Vice-Chairman, said the company’s revenues would come from the volume of patients who would be covered by the State’s health-insurance cover, besides out-patients. Even for those paying from their pockets, the cost of a diagnostic test would be about 20 per cent of the cost in a large hospital, he said. The new diagnostic centres will be staffed with 42 people, including technicians and staff, he added.

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