CG drives healthcare sector

The Diagnostic and Therapeutic Centre of Athens Hygeia S.A. was established in 1970 in Greece by physicians, most of whom were professors at the University of Athens. Since 1975 it has operated in the primary and secondary healthcare services.

In January 2006, Marfin Investment Group (MIG) acquired the company, and it became MIG’s investment arm in the healthcare services sector. During the next 24 months the new administration pursued a spree of investment initiatives (acquisitions, mergers and incorporation of new companies’) transforming Hygeia into a multinational group with one vision: to create the largest private integrated healthcare services provider in Southeastern Europe.

Today, Hygeia Group is present in four south-eastern European countries and has a portfolio of 9 Hospitals in Greece, Turkey, Albania and Cyprus of a total licensed capacity of 1,663 beds with 79 operating theatres, 45 delivery rooms and 19 Intensive Care Units with 120 beds. Specifically, Hygeia Group controls Hygeia General Hospital, General Maternity Gynecologic and Pediatric Clinc Mitera, and Leto Maternity Clinic, all in Greece; Achillion Limassol and Evangelismos Paphos in Cyprus; JFK Hospital, Goztepe Safak Hospital and Instanbul Safak Hospital in Turkey; and Hygeia Hospital Tirana in Albania.

Hygeia Group is also present in the Greek primary healthcare sector through the molecular biology and cell-genetic centre Alfa Lab, the diagnostic centre Bio-Check in central Athens and the Policlinic of West Athens.

In addition, Hygeia Group is expanding to the stem cell bank sector, with the creation of a network in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East – Stem-Health Hellas SA has been operating in Greece since July 2008. The company also owns commercial companies trading in consumables and implanted devices (Y-Logimed SA) and pharmaceuticals and general medical devices, which supply the group’s companies and other private hospitals with the necessary medical and pharmaceutical products.

Hygeia Group as a fast developing healthcare services organisation, offering its employees a modern and creative environment where they are able to succeed professionally and find employment in various specialties.

The group’s geographic expansion develops and broadens its executives’ exposure to international professional practices, constituting a suitable qualification for taking over posts of responsibility. Following Hygeia’s acquisition by MIG, the company’s human resources quadrupled in five years. Today more than 4,500 employees and 4,000 co-operating physicians offer their services to Hygeia Group.

The group places particular emphasis on developing its human resources, aiming at offering high level health care and hospitalisation services. The group utilises sophisticated personnel selection and training methods for staffing and personnel development, in order to continuously improve an exemplary and top scientific level diagnostic and therapeutic centre. The group, acknowledging its staff’s substantial contribution to its progress, focuses on preserving an excellent working environment and substantially training its employees to offer qualitative medical services. The group management aims to attract and maintain high performance executives, with modern professional perception, a high training level, faith in teamwork, and the ability to share Hygeia Group’s values and vision. Hygeia Group companies voluntarily grant a number of additional benefits to their personnel. Furthermore, as members of MIG, the largest business group in Greece, employees also enjoy benefits from companies under the MIG umbrella.

Hygeia’s name represents 35 years of innovative, high quality services and patient safety, and it is the first and only Greek hospital to have been accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI). JCI’s mission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care in the international community through the provision of education and consultation services and international accreditation. JCI focuses on both managerial and clinical outcomes and places the patient at the centre of the process. This integrated approach includes medical, nursing and administrative procedures, as well as their interaction, and will help Hygeia hospital offer higher quality services.

Corporate governance roadmap
Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way a corporation (or company) is directed, administered or controlled. Corporate governance also includes the relationships among the numerous stakeholders involved and the goals for which the corporation is governed. The principal stakeholders are the shareholders, the board of directors, employees, customers, creditors, suppliers, and the community.

Corporate governance is a multi-faceted subject. An important theme of corporate governance is to ensure the accountability of certain individuals in an organisation through mechanisms that try to reduce or eliminate the principal-agent problem. A related but separate thread of discussions focuses on the impact of a corporate governance system in economic efficiency, with a strong emphasis on shareholders’ welfare. There are yet other aspects to the corporate governance subject, such as stakeholder view and the corporate governance models around the world.

Due to the fact that Hygeia is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, it operates in compliance with the applicable domestic capital market and corporate governance rules. Compliance to its homeland law is by default top priority and a requirement for the company. Greek legal requirements must be met first, and this means that Hygeia has to comply with a body of national corporate law determining the framework of operation of societes anonyme, as well as a number of regulatory acts that have been introduced over the last decade to establish a best practices corporate governance framework for all businesses.

Going one step further, however, Hygeia’s new administration set transparency as a core value. As a result, corporate governance has been set as the cornerstone of the group’s expansion.

The principles of corporate governance that Hygeia applies are not only in accordance with the domestic corporate governance laws and the best international practices, but also the Code of Medical and Scientific Ethics and Deontology.

The company believes that the proper application of the principles of corporate governance is the key not only to make its resources more efficient and enhance its development, but also to certify the confidence of investors, its customers and the medical community.

Hence, Hygeia Group has set a number of committees and councils in order to ensure the trust of investors, stakeholders and the medical community.

Among the most pronounced is its executive committee, which aims to provide a more efficient execution of the work of the board of directors by undertaking part of its responsibilities. Moreover, Hygeia has created an audit committee in order to exercise control in the overall operation of the company and supervise the internal audit department.

In order to intensify the group’s corporate governance the management proceeded with the establishment of the supplies committee which, as its main goal, controls and approves of the policies and procedures by which the company’s supplies are procured, and secondarily promotes synergies among the group’s companies.

Furthermore, in order to advise the board of directors in medical, scientific and operational matters – such as staffing, supervision of conditions under which medical work is performed and the approval of new collaborating doctors – Hygeia has a scientific committee.

Finally, in order to deepen the trust of the medical community in Hygeia, the management established an ethics and deontology committee. The purpose of this committee is to implement the regulations governing the practice of the medical profession in accordance with the contents of each legislative framework.

The social face of Hygeia
The term Corporate Social Responsibility refers to actions, transactions and activities by companies with voluntary orientation and social contribution. A company is socially responsible not only when it complies with the obligations stipulated by law, but also when it proceeds to voluntary actions and activities transcending such obligations and pertaining both to employees as well as the broader social community (Green Paper, 2001).

Hygeia Group maintains an extensive corporate social responsibility programme, offering free healthcare services to organisations and individuals who lack financial resources. During 2010, Hygeia Hospital, Mitera and Leto Maternity Hospitals and Mitera Children’s Hospital undertook the diagnosis and care of hundreds of patients free of charge. Hygeia’s CSR programme wouldn’t have been possible to implement if Hygeia didn’t have the pro bono participation of the group’s physicians, medical and paramedical personnel.

Continuing and enhancing its social action, the group is planning a number of interventions and contributions for 2011, mainly directed towards prevention strategies and early diagnosis.

At Hygeia Group we are fully conscious of how sensitive the area we cater for is, being a field where good health is directly related to the sense of humanity and responsibility towards our fellow human beings.

At Hygeia we do not simply dwell on the framework of ethical and social values which should govern a company, but we apply CSR in the practice of modern corporate governance in an ever-evolving society.

CSR begins from each one of us. In a constantly evolving and changing society, no-one can afford to remain inert.

Throughout its history, Hygeia Group has aimed at combining the provision of high quality healthcare services with respect to patients, the society and the environment.

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