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The many extracts on these pages are from copyright material. They are owned by the reference given or its owner. They are reproduced here for educational purposes and to stimulate public debate about the provision of health and aged care. I consider this to be "fair use" in the common interest. They should not be reproduced for commercial purposes. The material is selective and I have not included denials and explanations. I am not claiming that all of the allegations are true. The intention is to show the general thrust of corporate practices as well as the nature and extent of any allegations made.
A number of smaller groups have operated over the years and this page looks at some of them. Only one or two still operate and the most successful is a doctor led group called Independent Private Hospitals of Australia.
LINKS CORPORATE MEDICINE WEB SITE
Australian Hospital Resources
Bryant Health Care
Hope Health Care
MEDICAL CORPORATION AUSTRALASIA LIMITED or Medicorp
Independent Private Hospitals of Australia
This was a small group sold to Australian Hospital care in 1988.
Australian Hospital Care Pty Ltd has bought five private hospitals in Melbourne from Australian Hospital Resources Pty Ltd in a deal estimated to be worth at least $50 million.
The five AHR hospitals included 408 registered beds and permits for another 70 beds, - - - -
The AHR group was built up over 18 years by Mr Hal Levy and Mr Howard Beaconsfield, - - - - - .
CARE, RESOURCES IN $50M VIC HOSPITAL DEAL Australian Financial Review June 30, 1988
This is a private group mentioned as developing and selling a hospital in 1987. In 1989 it was awarded a license to build a hospital at Erin. It owned at least one other hospital and it became insolvent in 1990 disrupting the lives of staff and the care of patients in its hospital.
BLE Capital and the Norton group jointly redeveloped the Hoscare, 100-bed private hospital at Strathfield, in Sydney's west, at a cost of $15 million. The property has since been sold to the Hospitals of Australia group.
1987 A new hospital
Berida Manor's $12m Upgrade Australian Financial Review June 26, 1987
Since the Greiner Government came to power in March, NSW Health Minister Peter Collins has approved 25 development projects for private hospitals.
1988 The new Erin hospital
Proposed private Erina New 120-bed Hoscare Ltd
HEALTHY FUTURE FOR PRIVATE HOSPITALS Sun Herald October 9, 1988
On Friday they lost their jobs and were told their was no money to pay them the $118,000 owed in outstanding pay.
Yet on the same day their employer announced plans to build a $25 million hospital just a few kilometres away.
Mr Alex Norton, a long-time Sydney private hospital developer, admits he is caught up in a "credit squeeze".
One of his companies, Hoscare Management Pty Ltd, which owns the Ocean Beach Hospital, was placed in receivership in March.
As a result the hospital, at Umina, has been closed and the elderly patients forced to move.
The move to receivership puts in doubt Mr Norton's plans to build a 125-bed private hospital at Erina.
Mr Norton said a US joint venture partner had "saved the day" for the Erina project.
He hoped contracts would be signed in a few weeks with the US company, which he would not name.
STAFF UNPAID AS HOSPITAL SHUTS Sun Herald June 10, 1990
Dr. Bryant formed this group in the 1980s. It bought some Sydney hospitals from Markalinga, won the contract to build the St Georges colocated private hospital in Sydney and then became insolvent. It sold the hospitals and the contract to Markalinga which in 1991 became the Australian arm of the infamous US company National Medical Enterprises (NME).
This was a group formed in Queensland amid the enthusiasm for privatising and profiting from everything to do with health in the late 1980s. Hospitals was only one of its planned interests and this seems to have been short lived if it ever got off the ground.
The company got caught up in the enthusiasm to bring wealthy Asians to Australia for medical treatment and was assisted in this by government. Moran Healthcare on the Gold Coast, Health and Life Care -SGIC-Healthscope in Darwin, and Markalinga - Australian Medical Enterprises in Perth were all targeting this market. Healthcorp aimed to help the patients into their hospitals.
Once again it was a joint project between market corporations and people disillusioned with the public system. Its operations were based on the US Health system.
It was the brain child of Peter Hennessy an economist with a public and private health care background working with the pathology group Sullivan and Nikolaides in Brisbane.
Hennessy, who had a health care background going back to Health Corporation of Americas investment in Australia, persuaded the Ariadne group to invest funds in the company and to buy a 50% holding in Sullivan and Nikolaides. The pathology group eventually became part of the Sonic Healthcare empire. Healthcorp also targeted general practice with plans to open 24 hour clinics. After the initial upbeat reports it ceased to feature in the press.
Healthcorp is worth looking at because Hennessys views which so enthusiastically embrace the market seek to profit from every facet of health care activity give an interesting insight into the thinking of the times. There is no doubting his motivation and enthusiasm. The way in which he deals with the key deficiencies in the market system by aggressive denial is illuminating.
He (Ariadne property director, Mr Geoff Wilson) said Ariadne had established a new company, Healthcorp Ltd as of July 1 last which "is capitalised at $25 million, which we aim to position in the marketplace to take full commercial and operational advantage of imminent changes in the health care industry".
1987 A new comany
ARIADNE TAKES ON HEALTH CARE Australian Financial Review October 6, 1987
Ariadne Australia has tacked yet another wing to its widespread business interests with the creation of a $25 million health care operation known as Healthcorp.
1987 Scope of activities
Healthcorp plans to establish a predominantly Queensland-based network of 24-hour medical facilities, day surgery units and diagnostic and private hospital interests, which it hopes to float publicly in two years.
One of Healthcorp's main assets will be a recently acquired half-share of the consulting pathologists Sullivan Nicholaides. An executive director of Ariadne, Mr Geoff Wilson, said the establishment of Healthcorp was part of the diverse group's strategy to create a multi-disciplined health care organisation to take advantage of imminent changes to the health industry.
ARIADNE IN $25M HEALTH PROJECT Sydney Morning Herald October 6, 1987
A new Australian national health organisation, assisted by an advisory council from the Federal Department of Immigration, has been formed to assist people from Asia and the Pacific to travel to Australia for specialised medical and surgical treatment.
1988 Targeting wealthy Asians
Med-Assistance (Pacific), a Melbourne based division of the health care group Healthcorp Ltd, will administer the new scheme, called the Hospital and Medical Overseas Patients Treatment Scheme and co-ordinate all medical and travel arrangements including hospital bookings, accommodation for accompanying relatives, arrangements for recuperation if required, ground transport, and translation facilities.
The medical director of Med-Assistance, Dr Laurence Simpson, said the scheme would be established in Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong and would be expanded to other countries in the region during the year.
HEALTH SCHEME TO CATER FOR OVERSEAS Australian Financial Review February 2, 1988
The managing director of Ariadne's newly formed Healthcorp Limited, Mr Peter Hennessy, believes private-sector commercial principles should be injected into health care institutions.
1987 Typical marketplace views in 1987
Mr Hennessy, a hospital administrator and health economist for more than 20 years - - - - .
"There were a lot of critics of commercial influences becoming entrenched in health care," he said.
"Within health care institutions there is the attitude that anything commercial is wrong because of its motive towards profitability.
"We tend to forget that the basis of profit is making the best use of resources available. It is a far greater sin to be a bad steward of public funds than it is to generate a profit by efficient use of resources.
"The thing that really came across to me (while at Kern) was that the attitude that the almighty dollar was the only motive for commercial enterprises was completely false and misdirected.
"We health-care economists get tied up arguing about whether something should be publicly or privately funded, rather than the application of those funds to get the best dollar value from the funds invested.
"One of my concerns has always been that we cannot differentiate between health care issues and the social issues of how we fund them."
Mr Hennessy will oversee Healthcorp's plans to establish a network of 24-hour medical facilities, day surgery units, diagnostic and private hospitals, retirement and nursing villages and medical research programs.
Healthcorp has also contributed $5 million to a joint venture with Hygeia Sci-Med Ltd with a view to manufacturing and marketing surgical instruments in Queensland.
Under Mr Hennessy's direction, Healthcorp is set to change emphasis in health care to "keeping well rather than trading through illness".
One way it will do this is by introducing a health insurance plan, a concept in which the insurer also becomes the provider of the services.
Mr Hennessy cited US statistics which showed hospital usage had declined to about 800 bed days per 1,000 population in the five years since health plans had become popular. This compared with 1,450 bed days per 1,000 population in Australia.
However, Mr Hennessy said that for the health plan concept to work most effectively in Australia, health care expenditure should be met from the private rather than the public purse.
Mr Hennessy has a degree in Health Administration from the University of New South Wales and is an associate of the Australian Society of Accountants and the Chartered Administrators and Secretaries.
He began work at the Sydney Hospital in 1967 and later worked at Hornsby Hospital.
He was appointed assistant director of the Commonwealth Department of Health in Canberra in 1978, and in 1980 joined the fledgling Hospital Corporation of Australia.
He developed the HCA chain and was later appointed executive director of Brisbane's Sunnybank Hospital, which he says is now one of the major private hospitals in Queensland.
After three years he started his own Brisbane-based hospital and medical management consultancy, Hospmed Services.
In 1983, Mr Hennessy took up an appointment with the pathologist, Sullivan and Nicolaides.
About 18 months ago he began putting together the blueprint for what is now Healthcorp in which Ariadne has invested $25 million.
PROFIT MOTIVE 'THE CURE FOR HEALTH CARE' Australian Financial Review October 22, 1987
I could find little information about this group which may be a charitable not for profit organization. It bid unsuccessfully for the Veterans Affairs Lady Davidson Rehabilitation privatisation in Sydney in 1997. It seemed to specialise in palliative care. With other not for profit church groups it received a grant from a government fund targeting aged care.
The list of contenders was recently pared down to three from the original five groups that had expressed interest in the hospital, including Ramsay Healthcare and Hope Health Care.
1997 Bidding for Lady Davidson
AHC Wins Hospital Bid Australian Financial Review June 26, 1997
Eversleigh palliative care hospital in Petersham yesterday lost a four-year battle for survival when the Central Sydney Area Health Service announced that all beds would move to Concord and Royal Prince Alfred hospitals.
1997 Palliative care
The hospital's owner, Hope Health Care, which runs it with funds from the health service, had been negotiating for several months for money to upgrade the rundown building. Now it has been told that the Central Sydney Area Health Service will take it over from November 1.
Closure Leaves Central Sydney Without Hospice Sydney Morning Herald August 8, 1997
The new State Government funds are part of a $15.6 million increase statewide announced by NSW Minister for the Ageing Carmel Tebbutt as part of a State-Commonwealth initiative. Northern district beneficiaries include Midwest Community Care Inc, Baptist Community Services, Centrecare, Northern Area Health Service and Hope Health Care.
2004 Government grant
Briefly : Increased funds Northern District Times September 29, 2004
Macquarie Health was the large multifaceted medical business built up by entrepreneur, Dr. Tom Wenkart, another early partner of Dr Edelsten. It was primarily a pathology business but it also owned 6 private hospital, the largest chain of medical clinics in NSW and a medical software company. Like Edelsten and McGoldrick, Wenkart's companies indulged in some controversial practices, had a bitter dispute with the tax department, and ran into financial difficulties. Wenkhart sold off his pathology business and then went bankrupt himself.
In the hospital sector the company is best known for the luxury medical Taj Mahal planned for the colocation project it had secured in 1989 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. The contract for this was strongly criticised by the Ombudsman. There were endless delays and changes of plans as Wenkart repeatedly assured critics that the hospital would be built. After 10 years there had been minimal signs of activity and these had ceased. The contract was terminated.
A report in 2004 indicated that Macquarie Health still operated five hospitals but Wenkart's involvement is unknown.
Click Here to go to the section on hospitals on the page exploring Macquarie Health and Tom Wenkart
HCA Medicorp was a preventive rehabilitation and chemical dependency group targeting corporations which was purchased by Health Corporation of Australia (HCoA) in 1986 where there is more information. It owned rehabilitation and chemical dependency hospitals and continued to operate as a subsidiary.
"HCA Medicorp's key objective is to aid organisations to maximise their bottom line by providing quality health care services, tailored to keep people in the workforce, return them as quickly as possible after injury, and thereby reduce absenteeism and workers compensation claims," he said.
1986 The business focus
$3m Occupational Health Centre Plan Australian Financial Review July 17, 1986
St John is also working closely with HCA Medicorp, an organisation offering medical care packages to industry, including their own chain of specialised hospitals.
1987 Packages to industry
THE LEADERS IN FIRST AID Sun Herald June 7, 1987
Another company called Medicorp was formed in 1997 by a group of Medical entrepreneurs and businessmen. Past federal labour treasurer John Dawkins became chairman and Fiona Stanley who would later become Australian of the year was a director. While it never owned hospitals in Australia its conduct is interesting.
Where others had looked to bring wealthy Asians to Australia they planned to take Australian medicine to Asia. They planned a chain of hospitals While their initial intentions may well have been humanitarian and aimed to increase local standards the pressures of the market soon ensured that they followed the money and abandoned this mission.
In 1997 they raised money from the share market to build a modern private hospital in Hanoi, Veitnam. They also bought into a pharmacology business in China. Despite all the hype the hospital was not profitable and they were lucky to exit Veitnam with most of their capital intact.
They now turned away from hospitals and followed the money some of which came from the pharmacology business. They funded and promoted the development and sale of a new speculum and invested in a new kit for detecting Glaucoma.
SHARES in Perth-based health services company Medical Corporation Australasia return to the Australian Stock Exchange today after completion of a $7.2 million capital raising.
1997 Listing on the share market
MediCorp is the renamed Barlile Corporation, a listed cashbox company which was suspended after being taken over by the Bangkok-based Vietnam Frontier Fund in February last year.
The company plans to use the money to explore new health care opportunities in Indo-China, South-East Asia, China and Australia.
The funds will also be used to complete the construction of a hospital complex in Hanoi, due to start operating in July, and expand the company's pharmaceutical joint venture near Shanghai.
The company's board members include former Labor federal treasurer John Dawkins, Perth businessmen Eric Tan and Simon Lee and medical researcher Professor Fiona Stanley.
MediCorp Back On The Board The West Australian January 13, 1997
Medicorp, which will be chaired by a former Federal Treasurer, Mr John Dawkins, told the Australian Stock Exchange that it had assets in excess of $31 million and cash reserves of $15 million with which to pursue a number of projects in the region.
1997 Assets and board
High-profile medical researcher Professor Fiona Stanley, of the University of Western Australia, would also bring to the board an "extensive network of contacts at political, scientific and community levels," the company said.
Medicorp Resumes Trading Australian Financial Review January 14, 1997
MEDICAL Corporation Australasia is hoping to open its hospital in Hanoi by September, according to managing director Eric Tan.
1997 Business interests
Dr Tan was speaking yesterday at MediCorp's first annual meeting since it returned to the Australian Stock Exchange in January, after a $7.2 million capital raising.
The company also has interests in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Hangzhou, China, as well as the commercialisation of innovative medical equipment in Australia.
The hospital would service Vietnam's big expatriate population, a developing tourism industry and wealthy Vietnamese.
$9.5m Hanoi Hospital On Track: MediCorp The West Australian May 29, 1997
The hospital is part of a joint venture between the adjoining Bach Mai government hospital and Medicorp, which was backdoor listed last December by Dr Tan and his associate, Simon Lee, through the former Barlile Coporation.
1997 Hanoi hospital opens
Medicorp Opens Vietnam Hospital The West Australian October 27, 1997
NEARLY three years after raising more than $7 million for their high profile foray into Vietnam's private health care industry, Perth businessmen Simon Lee and Eric Tan are pulling out of the country they saw as full of promise.
1999 Hanoi hospital fails
MediCorp has also scaled down its investment in Hangzhou Ao Yi Pollen Pharmaceutical Co, a pharmaceutical factory near Shanghai, China.
Lee, Tan Pull Out Of Vietnam Venture The West Australian November 20, 1999
PERTH company Medical Corporation Australasia has secured funding from an international pharmaceutical giant for a clinical test of its cervi-Max speculum.
2000 The Cervi-Max speculum
Trials are due to start in Sydney next month and MediCorp is confident of success followed by commercialisation of its patented speculum.
Backer For MediCorp The West Australian August 19, 2000
ONE-TIME Vietnam hospital investor Medical Corporation of Australasia has taken a big step towards becoming a leading health industry investor, agreeing yesterday to invest $2 million in Sydney University-backed blindness prevention technology, Objectivision.
2000 Objectivision test kit
It is the second major move by MediCorp which, less than a year after exiting its million-dollar private hospital investment in Vietnam, is trying to reposition itself as a premier Australian investor in medical technology.
MediCorp Backs Sight Technology With $2m The West Australian September 5, 2000
FORMER Federal Treasurer John Dawkins has resigned suddenly from Medical Corporation Australasia, whose board he chaired for five years.
2001 Dawkins resigns
MediCorp Rewards Parting Dawkins The West Australian May 29, 2001
Shares in Simon Lee's Medical Corporation Australasia are floundering in the wake of shock revelations of a cash crisis and delays in selling the company's key eye-testing technology in the lucrative US market.
2004 After some ups comes a down
MediCorp hit by cash crisis and sales delay The West Australian November 20, 2004
This private for profit group was formed in 2000 by a group of 40 doctors who bought the Sydney Private Hospital when its owners went into receivership. The moving forces were Dr Peter Catts and Dr Lionel Chang. They specialised in areas of modern technology and developed close relations with the companies who developed the surgical technology. While I have criticised inappropriate links between corporations providing equipment or drugs, and doctors you really have no choice but to work closely if you are to be at the edge of technological advances.
MIS CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE ESTABLISHED AT SYDNEY PRIVATE HOSPITAL
2003 Sydney Private Hospital strategy
Mr Mulcahy said "an International Centre of Excellence has been established at The Sydney Private Hospital, located in western Sydney, which will train orthopaedic surgeons from Australia and throughout the world to become proficient in the implanting of their preferred brand of hip prostheses using our patented technology. Currently we have a number of prominent local and international surgeons ready to be trained in the NILNAV technique who will 'champion' the procedure as part of our rollout strategy. NILNAV is currently in advanced negotiations with a number of global prosthesis manufacturers to allow their aligned surgeons to have access to our unique MIS Technique."
Equity 1 Resources N.L. (EIR.AX) Press Rel - NILNAV Now Considered World Leaders in MIS. Australian Stock Exchange Company Announcements April 28, 2003 (FROM NILNAV COMPANY REPORT)
NILNAV has launched its MIS Centre of Excellence at Sydney Private Hospital where Australian and US surgeons are being trained there on the minimally invasive 5cm incision hip replacement technology.
2003 Sydney Private Hospital strategy
EQUITY-1 RESOURCES AFFILIATE SELLS GLOBAL RIGHTS TO HIP REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGY Australian Company News Bites August 18, 2003
MORBIDLY obese people will be able to lose more than 100kg through a centre to be officially opened at the Sydney Private Hospital, Ashfield, on Monday.
2004 Sydney Private Hospital strategy
The Sydney Institute for Obesity Surgery will draw psychologists, dieticians and surgeons from across Australia for a weight loss program based around lap-band surgery, where a band is inserted into the body through key hole surgery.
Sydney Private Hospital will celebrate the opening of the centre with a National Obesity Awareness Week. People are welcome to come and listen to surgeons discuss the operation from 6.30pm every week night this week and 10.30am on Saturday.
New hope for morbidly obese Inner-West Weekly July 29, 2004
BUSINESS is booming at the state's first centre for obesity surgery.
2004 Sydney Private Hospital strategy
After opening its doors a fortnight ago, the Sydney Institute for Obesity Surgery has been flooded with patients desperate to beat the battle of the bulge.
About 200 patients have visited the centre and staff have received more than 600 phone inquiries.
Medical centre living off the fat of the land Sun Herald August 8, 2004
Sydney Hernia Clinic director Peter Catts presented the surgeons' research to the World Hernia Congress in London on the weekend.
2004 Sydney Private Hospital strategy
World first for local clinic. Parramatta Advertiser June 25, 2003
Its plans to fund expansion of the hospital by building a major residential development in the grounds and turn existing heritage cottages into specialist rooms sparked strong objections from the local community and was rejected by the council.
SYDNEY Private Hospital will undergo major redevelopment with possibly 60 to 80 units built on the Victoria St, Ashfield grounds.
2002 Development plans
A single-floor addition to the existing modern hospital is proposed. Adjacent heritage cottages may become specialist doctors' rooms.
The site now trades as Sydney Private Hospital. It is owned by Independent Private Hospitals of Australia Pty Ltd.
The company is a consortium of 40 doctors which bought the site in November 2000 when the previous owners went into receivership.
Sydney Private Hospital specialises in eye and kidney procedures as well as plastic surgery, abdominal surgery, ear nose and throat, orthopaedic and bowel cancer treatments.
Previous plans for the site, more than 10 years old, proposed a mega-hospital.
Major units plan for old hospital Doctors seek Ashfield site. Glebe and Inner City News November 20, 2002
EARLY plans for residential development on the Sydney Private Hospital site in Ashfield have alarmed locals and spurred Mayor Mark Bonanno to seize control of the land.
2003 Community objections
Neighbours of the hospital site quickly mobilised after reading of the doctors' development plans in The Glebe.
The land comes with development approval for expanded hospital facilities, yet new owners, Independent Private Hospitals of Australia Pty Ltd said this was not viable.
Company chairman Dr Peter Catts said the residential development was needed to fund existing and future medical services on the site.
The Mayor praised Dr Catts for his transparency and honesty. He said Dr Catts deserved an early indication of council's criteria to avoid wasted effort.
Locals fight units plan. Glebe and Inner City News February 26. 2003
Surely the triumphant and unanimous (12-0) decision by councillors against changing the use of any part of the site from hospital to non-hospital uses was worth reporting?
2004 Rejected by local council
I have never seen such a decisive rejection by any local government body of what was always a contentious and innappropriate proposal.
Phil Carrick Letter : What about the Inner-West Weekly March 4, 2004
The group later went on to buy five money losing hospitals from Nova Health. One of these had previously been rated poorly by Australian Accreditation processes (see Nova page).
Nova has sold four hospitals, Pinelodge Clinic, Baronor Private Hospital and Mountain District Private Hospital located in Victoria and the Longueville Private Hospital in Sydney, to Independent Private Hospitals of Australia, a company associated with medical industry figures Dr Lionel Chang and Peter Catts, for $21.5 million in September.
2004 Purchase of Nova hospitals
The company sold a fifth hospital, Malvern Private Hospital in Melbourne to Independent Private Hospitals of Australia for $2.6 million last month.
Nova sells another hospital The Gold Coast Bulletin December 25, 2004
This company is run by doctors and its manager Peter Catts has been an ardent supporter of private care. With Bruce Shepherd and others he led a group of surgeons who opposed the creation of Medicare in the early 1980s. They succeeded in preserving the independence of the medical profession from government control but did not prevent Medicare. He considered the fall off in private insurance and many of the subsequent problems in the public system in the 1980s to be a consequence of Medicare.
Catts was subsequently active in the community and was a very active president and vice president of the Small Business Council of Australia for may years. He spoke for them on many occasions. He has also been active in private medicine and one should not doubt his integrity or his commitment to good private medicine.
He said that since the 1984 mass resignation of doctors, which he spearheaded with Bruce Shepherd and Michael Aroney, all their warnings had transpired.
2004 Review of opposition to Medicare in 1984
"We predicted then there would be long waiting lists," Dr Catts said.
He believes eventually the government will have to abandon Medicare and find a new way of financing the health system, with more competition between private hospitals.
Veteran of a bloody conflict Inner-West Weekly July 8, 2004
"Are you ready to say no to the fringe benefits tax - one ... two ... three?" said Dr Peter Catts, NSW president of the Australian Small Business Association (ASBA). And the crowd at yesterday's lunch-hour rally in the city roared their assent.
1986 Speaking for Small Business Council
CROWD AT RALLY ALL TOO HAPPY TO AXE THE TAX Sydney Morning Herald October 23, 1986
The problem I see here is not whether these doctor owners are providing questionable care and giving way to inappropriate corporate pressure from the companies whose products they use - or how they are handling conflicts of interest. They should all be aware of the hazards and hopefully will manage them well. The problem is what will happen when the company is very successful and profitable - and the doctors age?
Australian private health care is dominated by two huge companies, both committed to further expansion and willing to pay top dollar for profitable businesses. Will these doctors reject lucrative offers for their shares from Ramsay Health Care and Healthscope, or will they follow the radiologists and pathologists, bowing to the inevitable corporate takeover, and securing a very comfortable retirement. Their younger colleagues will not be able or prepared to pay nearly as much for their shares.
This page created October/November 2005 by Michael Wynne