It began two years ago with a discussion and a lot of questions.
- What would it mean for CHRISTUS Health, a Catholic health care system, with operations already in Chili and Mexico to continue to grow in Latin America?
- What would it mean to expand the CHRISTUS commitment of hope and healing into the country of Colombia?
- What would an agreement with another organization like Cali based Grupo Empresarial Coomeva Cooperative Medica (Coomeva) in Colombia look like?
- Could it ever be a reality to partner with this organization also already committed to the best health care outcomes for its members and the communities it serves?
Today, questions, proposals and all those “what ifs” officially received answers as the definitive agreements with Coomeva and CHRISTUS were ceremonially signed off on in the city of Cali where the national headquarters of the Coomeva Group is located.
President and CEO of CHRISTUS Health, Ernie Sadau and the president of Coomeva Group, Alfredo Arana Velasco were there for this momentous occassion.
The 50-year-old Grupo Coomeva is a cooperative with a quarter of a million employees and is located throughout 40 cities.
The partnership is significant.
“We are proud to be working with a strong health care partner who truly provides high quality health care and services to its members,” said Sadau. “We are looking forward to learning from the Coomeva Group and bringing our experience from the provider side of health care to Colombia.”
With the execution of the agreement, CHRISTUS Health assumes partial ownership of various companies within the Coomeva organization, including:
- An equal ownership stake in Sinergia, a health care provider network that serves members from Coomeva’s own health insurance plans, as well as many other plans. Also included are two wholly-owned hospitals, two partially-owned hospitals, the largest home care company in the country and 88 ambulatory facilities in nearly every community in Colombia.
- A minority ownership stake in Coomeva EPS, a health insurance company that contracts with the Colombian government. Colombia has universal coverage for its 47 million residents. Although this program has expanded its offering to all Colombians, today 24 million of are covered under the EPS program. Of these 24 million, Coomeva serves 3.7 million Colombians, almost 15 percent.
- A minority ownership stake in Coomeva Medicina Prepagada, a private health insurance company that contracts with individuals and employers to provide private health insurance nationwide. Today, Coomeva has 265,000 lives out of a total market of approximately 1.0 million lives.
- The health care-related operations of Coomeva Servicios Administrativos (CSA) a centralized services and administration company within Coomeva. CSA includes services like human resources, group purchasing, payroll, tax services, and a large contact center that receives an average of 7 million phone calls a month and has one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry.
CSA also includes an Information Management Company called Unidad Tecnologia Informatica (UTI), which provides sophisticated proprietary software used by all of Coomeva, including the Health Division.
“We are excited to add new insurance products and technologies to our system,” Sadau said. “But we are most enthusiastic about the way Coomeva builds systems to help its members and communities improve their health. We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Coomeva to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ into Colombia.”