Unimed invests R$ 1.5 billion to expand services

posted on 10/17/2021 7:14 AM

Omar Abujamra Junior, from Unimed do Brasil: medical quality, presence throughout the country and proximity to communities differentiate the cooperatives - (credit: @ruyhiza)


Omar Abujamra Junior, from Unimed do Brasil: medical quality, presence throughout the country and proximity to communities differentiate the cooperatives – (credit: @ruyhiza)

As of this Monday (10/18), the capital of Pernambuco will have a new high-complexity hospital. With 200 beds, 20 of which are for intensive care, and equipped for robotic surgery, the service is part of the Hospital Complex Unimed Recife, on Ilha do Leite. This will be the fourteenth hospital delivered by the Unimed System to the country since the beginning of 2020. The new units total more than 1,100 beds and represent structuring investments of R$ 1.5 billion in care capacity.

Medical cooperatives already mobilize nearly 2,500 accredited hospitals across the country and inject more than R$56 billion a year into the health system. The company’s own network, made up of 152 hospitals and day hospitals, in addition to clinics, emergency units and diagnostic centers, strategically complements the services. By 2023, another four Unimed hospitals should go into operation, including in hub cities like Londrina, in Paraná, and Contagem, in Greater Belo Horizonte.

“These are relevant investments for the Brazilian health sector, which are being made by our cooperative doctors”, emphasizes Omar Abujamra Junior, president of Unimed do Brasil, the confederation that represents the system. The strategy also contributes to consolidating the leadership of cooperatives in health The Unimed System serves 18.3 million beneficiaries, or 38% of the health plan market – a share that has expanded amid the pandemic. Since June 2020, when the sector resumed growth after five years between retraction and stability, the Unimeds portfolio grew 3.8%, attracting 680 thousand new customers.

Unimed Recife opens its new Hospital Complex on Ilha do Leite, equipped with 200 beds, structure for robotic surgeries and bone marrow transplants
Unimed Recife opens its new Hospital Complex on Ilha do Leite, equipped with 200 beds, structure for robotic surgeries and bone marrow transplants
(photo: Unimed/Disclosure)

national presence

The positive numbers reinforce a historic milestone for the Unimed System. Originated in the city of Santos, in 1967, the network of medical cooperatives began its expansion across the country exactly 50 years ago, driven by a project by the Associação Médica Brasileira and its federates. As local-based organizations, cooperatives have helped to secure doctors even in small towns and make regional health systems financially viable. Indeed, currently, Unimeds cover 86% of Brazilian municipalities, in all states.

“In these 50 years, the greatest legacy of the Unimed System is having contributed to internalizing quality healthcare in Brazil. Our cooperatives directly impact the economic and social development of the surroundings, generating jobs, mobilizing the service chain and providing technology”, analyzes Omar Abujamra. “Our medical quality, the capillarity of our system and the close and direct contact with the communities where we operate are, today, Unimed’s unbeatable differentials”, he completes.

The knowledge of the local health reality proved to be even more relevant in the context of the pandemic, according to Omar, so that each Unimed could identify the needs and have an adequate action plan – in many cases, integrated in partnerships with the municipalities. In addition to maintaining planned investments, the system responded to the crisis with emergency actions, in more than 550 initiatives to adapt the service network. A survey carried out with 119 cooperatives, which together assist 12 million customers, shows that, since the beginning of the pandemic, over 13,000 health professionals have been hired to reinforce the front line.

An important innovation was the adoption of telemedicine systems, including training for physicians in partnership with the Associação Paulista de Medicina. There was also a 58% expansion in the capacity of ICU beds already installed, the opening of 12 field hospitals in the most critical moments and the creation of specialized care centers to monitor patients with post-Covid physical and emotional consequences.

social investment

The local connection is also reflected in social and environmental projects. According to the organization’s Social Balance Sheet, in 2020, the Unimed System invested R$ 85 million in external projects, focused on the environment, volunteering, health, education, professional training, sports, culture, leisure and social actions, benefiting 9, 9,000 entities throughout Brazil. In the wake of the economic crisis, assistance and humanitarian aid initiatives alone more than doubled in the last year, directly benefiting around 1 million people.

Business complement performance

Unimed Curitiba donated 4,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) to seven hospitals in the capital of Paraná and the metropolitan region
Unimed Curitiba donated 4,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) to seven hospitals in the capital of Paraná and the metropolitan region
(photo: RODOLFO BUHRER)

One of the strengths of the Brazilian health sector, in the last 30 years, Unimed has entered new business segments that reinforce its differentiated performance. “According to the International Cooperative Alliance, we are among the 30 largest cooperative systems in the world, in terms of revenue. In the health area, we have the greatest experience”, says Omar Abujamra Junior.

Among the nationwide operations are Central Nacional Unimed, with a portfolio of more than 1.9 million health plan beneficiaries, and Unimed Odonto, a dental plan operator with 600,000 customers. Seguros Unimed, on the other hand, operates in the areas of health, life and pension, property and civil liability insurance, in addition to financial management through InvestCoop Asset Management. The system also has MultiCoop, a closed supplementary pension entity that serves members and employees. The expansion of business and the search for new operating models are on the agenda of the holding Unimed Participações for the coming years.

To take care of culture and train technical staff, doctors and managers for cooperatives, the system has the Unimed College, accredited by the Ministry of Education since 2016. Maintained by a foundation created 26 years ago, the institution has already trained more than 150,000 professionals in different models of training.

Unimed system in large numbers

18.3 million health plan customers

38% share in supplementary health

341 medical cooperatives

86% of Brazilian municipalities covered

118 thousand cooperating doctors

134,000 direct employees

152 own hospitals

2,487 accredited hospitals