Medibank forms new short-stay no-gap hospital joint venture

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Medibank has announced that it has formed a joint venture with more than 40 specialist doctors to develop a new short-stay surgical facility in Melbourne.

The company said the joint venture aims to give patients more choice in how their care is delivered – with a short-stay model across many surgical modalities, including extending the no-gap treatment model for eligible Medibank customers.

It said the group of 42 doctors will be led by vascular surgeon Professor Michael Grigg. The doctors will retain full clinical autonomy at all times.

The joint venture will work with real estate investment group Centuria Healthcare that will acquire the land and develop a new facility on a site in the Melbourne suburb of Kew. The joint venture will take a long-term, 15-year lease of the new hospital.

The facility is planned to offer four operating theatres and a procedure room, 30 beds, radiology, an infusion (chemotherapy) clinic and 90 basement car parking spaces. The facility proposes to provide services in orthopaedics, ENT, vascular, plastics, urology, general surgery, gastroenterology, anaesthetics, oncology, and radiology. 

Professor Grigg said the investing doctors will own 51 per cent of the joint venture with Medibank owning a 49 per cent non-controlling stake.

“This is a significant investment in Australian healthcare. The doctors who are co-investing are committed to delivering short-stay models of care where clinically appropriate, across many surgery types, with reduced or no gaps for eligible patients,” said Professor Grigg.

“We are proud to partner with Medibank and Centuria Healthcare in this new facility where doctors will have much greater input into the operation of the hospital.

“We hope to open the new facility in 2023, and we are committed to this innovative new model of care that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for eligible patients and reduce unnecessary time spent in hospital,” added Professor Grigg.

Medibank group executive healthcare and strategy Dr Andrew Wilson said the investment demonstrates Medibank’s commitment to putting patients at the centre of treatment and supporting healthcare providers to improve the patient experience.

“We have long said that affordability in the private health system needs to be addressed. Out-of-pocket costs are a big part of that,” said Dr Wilson.

“Hospitals, doctors, health insurers and the government will need to collaborate more than ever in these changing times to ensure that the healthcare system continues to deliver the best possible experience for patients at an affordable cost.

“Our investment is aimed at supporting our doctor partners to deliver a short-stay model of care that is already widely available at scale in other health systems internationally and for which there is a strong body of evidence,” added Dr Wilson.

Centuria Healthcare managing director Andrew Hemming said the company is delighted to partner with the joint venture doctors and Medibank to develop and own this new short-stay surgical facility.

“This is a transformative project that can change the landscape of the healthcare sector and being the real estate partner of this forward-thinking project is exciting,” said Mr Hemming.

“The project is central to Centuria Healthcare’s strategy to partner with top-tier operators backed by long-term leases. We are focused on providing modern healthcare real estate investments across Australia and currently have c.$1 billion worth of these assets under management.”

The joint venture between the group of doctors and Medibank will invest approximately $22 million to establish the new facility, to support start-up operations and equipment. Medibank’s contribution will be approximately $10.7 million.

The joint venture is Medibank’s latest investment, following the recent investment in East Sydney Private Hospital and the proposed investment in primary care operator Myhealth Medical Group.