International Joint Venture Delivers High-Quality and Affordable Healthcare to the Hispanic Market in Florida

South Florida Hospital News
Date: November 1, 2015

As a result of a recent partnership between Organización Sanitas Internacional (OSI) and GuideWell, the parent company to Florida Blue, the Sanitas medical centers were created to give patients and their families a world of health and a whole new perspective on what healthcare can be.

“This means more time with their doctor, very convenient hours, a one-stop shop, a proactive approach to health and exceptional service that will make patients feel at home,” says Sanitas CEO, Fernando Fonseca, M.D. Sanitas will offer primary care, specialty care, urgent care, laboratory, diagnostic imaging and medications - all in one place. The medical centers are open seven days a week with extended hours and serve Florida Blue members, those with Medicare, patients from other Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, plus self-pay. “Sanitas want patients to be engaged in their health,” says Dr. Fonseca. “A secure Patient Portal lets patients connect with their Sanitas medical center online from their computer, table or mobile, anytime. There’s a lot they can do: make an appointment and receive reminders, get lab results, refill prescriptions, view your personal medical record, send a secure message to a doctor or medical staff, and much more.” OSI and GuideWell are two organizations with complementary strengths and experience in different aspects of healthcare, notes Dr. Fonseca. It’s a partnership to create a unique health solution for the growing Hispanic population in South Florida. “The synergies were clear from the beginning,” he says. “Organización Sanitas Internacional brings more than 50 years of experience in developing health care delivery models that improve access to quality and affordable care totheir patients. This leading healthcare organization understands how to meet the needs of Hispanics as they have presence in multiple Latin American countries where they serve 2.5 million patients.”

In addition, Fonseca adds that the GuideWell family of companies has experience developing innovative health solutions across the state, including a portfolio of affordable health insurance products through its insurance leading company Florida Blue. Sanitas had two main challenges in building the Sanitas medical centers: an aggressive development schedule and recruiting Hispanic medical and support staff that met the desired profile. Sanitas had about 12 months from development to construction to opening the doors in South Florida market.

“From the onset, Sanitas strove to serve and reflect the growing Hispanic market in South Florida and to reduce healthcare disparities experienced among

Hispanics,” explains Dr. Fonseca. “The company partnered with local organizations and universities, such as Florida International University, to develop relationships in the local medical community and to recruit doctors and clinicians who did more than just speak Spanish but truly understood the healthcare needs of the

Hispanic community.” According to Dr. Fonseca, Sanitas aims to improve access to quality care for Hispanics and to help reduce health disparities. “We also want to work collaboratively with Florida Blue in making health care more affordable and convenient,” he says. “Sanitas has a direct impact on the economy through construction and now by employing 250 people. In addition, Sanitas is developing innovative programs to build the next generation of Hispanic health professionals.”

Patients visiting Sanitas will receive high-quality and caring service from primary care doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other clinicians all working together; a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to treating patients holistically. The primary care team includes internal medicine doctors, family medicine, pediatricians and gynecologists to serve the needs of the entire family. This medical team also includes nutritionists, care coordinators, social workers and others.

Sanitas also offers specialty care such as cardiology, dermatology, radiology and gastroenterology, so patients have the convenience of advanced medical care all in the same location. In addition to scheduled visits, Fonseca says that Sanitas understands that immediate access to urgent medical care is important to patients— access to care when and where the community needs it can help prevent conditions from becoming more serious.

As a result, Sanitas offers urgent care for illnesses such as colds, flu, stomachaches, ear infections and for minor injuries. Trained medical staff can quickly diagnose urgent care patients with onsite laboratory and imaging and provide the proper medications and treatment to. Finally, the medical center include facilities to keep patients under observation for up to 6 hours, to allow for testing and monitoring of patient progress on-site.

“Sanitas is committed to providing the unique quality patient experience for which the company is recognized in Latin America,” says Dr. Fonseca. “Many South Floridians travel or have family in Latin America, and they can now experience this same quality and consistent care from Sanitas in both Latin America and the United States. The foundation of the clinical model is a 5-P approach that is common in all Sanitas markets: personalized, preventive, proactive, participative and permanent. Through staff hiring, the medical centers then adjust to best serve each local market.”

There are currently three Sanitas locations - each medical center conveniently located to meet the needs of the neighborhood:

• Doral—2000 NW 87th Avenue, on NW 87th Avenue

• Kendall—7135 SW 117th Avenue Sunset Drive and SW 117th Avenue

• Miami Lakes/Palm Springs North— 18610 NW 87th Avenue, on Miami Gardens Drive and NW 87th Avenue just off I-75

According to Dr. Fonseca, the plan is to grow to a network of medical centers that serve about five million patients throughout Florida and the United States. With this expansion plan, it wants to not only improve the health of the communities it serves, but also build a bridge that connect Hispanics who receive health care services here and in their home country. For Fonseca, Sanitas is a brand patients will come to recognize for quality and an exceptional healthcare experience.

“It’s a brand that makes patients feel comfortable,” he says. “Every aspect of the experience is designed and viewed from the patient’s point of view. We have worked very hard to carefully select the right doctors and medical support team. The doctor-patient relationship is very important. Exceeding every patient’s expectations is how Sanitas plans to develop a relationship for life. That’s why appointments are carefully scheduled so patients spend minimal time in the waiting room and more time with their doctors.”