- Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare is on the lookout for international contracts to develop medical programs, train clinical staff and manage hospitals, reports The Boston Globe.
- The healthcare system currently has no plans to purchase or build its own hospitals overseas, but its Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals (Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General) are looking for business opportunities in China and the Middle East, where growing and wealthy populations are beginning to demand superior medical care.
- Partners, Mass. General and Brigham and Women's already have different deals underway abroad.
Already in the works: Mass. General is finalizing a deal to jointly manage a hospital on an island near Macau with a Chinese development company—although the hospital is still two to three years from opening. Partners is designing the building and clinical programs for another hospital slated to open in Shanghai in 2017.
Brigham and Women's hired its first chief business development officer six months ago to target overseas markets. Steven Thompson founded the international business arm at Johns Hopkins and he just got back from a trip to southern China to visit potential hospital sites for one of China's largest property development companies (and Brigham/Harvard donor), the Evergrande Group. Brigham would act as a consultant, not an investor.
Brigham is also holding discussions for projects in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. and exploring opportunities in Brazil and Peru.
Partners is not the only domestic operator leveraging their brand overseas: The Cleveland Clinic manages two hospitals in Abu Dhabi, including a new one that opened this year and carries the company name. The move makes sense for Partners particularly given that regulators have recently stymied expansion efforts in the state (remember Hallmark and South Shore?). "Partners is running out of growth opportunities in Boston," Robert Field, a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia who studies health care consolidation, told The Boston Globe. "[Overseas] is a new untouched territory where they don't have to worry about antitrust regulators."
Thompson underscored that assessment: "The reality is the traditional lines of revenue for [US] healthcare organizations are threatened," Thompson said. "It makes good business sense always to diversify your revenue base. We need to reach out in more and different ways."