Insight

Malta: Ideal Launchpad for Steward's European Ambitions

First things first: US firm Steward Health Care, which in 2018 took over the concession for the operation of three hospitals from Vitals Global Healthcare, says it is fully focused on overhauling Malta’s hospital infrastructure before seeking to attract medical tourists to the island, says Armin Ernst, President of Steward Health Care International.


Every business has a story. Can you tell us yours and explain why Steward Health Care came to Malta?  

Steward Health Care has built an innovative care model that has successfully helped patients across the United States of America to receive high-quality care while reducing medical expenses. As the largest private hospital operator in the USA with 36 community hospitals, we saw the opportunity of partnering with the Maltese government as an excellent chance for us to extend our delivery model internationally.

Malta has a long-standing reputation as a health care provider, formerly referred to as the Nurse of the Mediterranean, is a member of the European Union, and is stable both economically and politically, so there was really no place better to launch our European ambitions.

 

 

What are the key competitive advantages of Malta and what are the key challenges of doing business internationally from Malta? 

Malta has many competitive advantages that influenced our decision to invest here. The workforce is English-speaking, hard-working and well-educated, which were important considerations for us. Furthermore, the fact that the country is a member of the European Union ensures certain high standards and it allows us to enter a significant new market.

 

"We are aware that Malta and the USA are two different countries, and so for us the challenge is to adapt to the local population while remaining true to what has helped us succeed in the past."

Armin Ernst, President at Steward Health Care

 

 

What are the biggest opportunities for your particular business and for your sector in general in Malta? 

Our current focus is on improving the infrastructure in Karin Grech Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Gozo General Hospital. In addition, the completion of the Barts Medical School campus in Gozo is also a top priority. These projects will allow us to ensure that the level of health care we are providing in Malta and Gozo is truly world class.

Once the infrastructure has been modernised, we will also be looking at opportunities in the medical tourism space. We believe that attracting patients from abroad to Malta is a worthy revenue opportunity which will also benefit other local businesses and help diversify the local tourism industry.

 

 

What ideas or suggestions would you give the government/authorities that would help the country remain relevant for your industry? 

In our industry, it is very important for us to maintain a healthy and professional working relationship not only with the government but also with the unions, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions. Collaborating with all these different stakeholders allows us to consider their needs and concerns.

 

 

"We understand that only by working together we can provide an exceptional level of health care in Malta and Gozo, and so it is crucial for everyone to work well together for the good of the patient population."

Armin Ernst, President at Steward Health Care


What plans do you have for growing the company in 2018 and beyond? 

As part of our efforts to develop the infrastructure, we shall be recruiting heavily in various fields. This will not only allow us to improve the quality of care provided but it will also allow us to eventually increase the number of services that we offer. The team in Malta will be focused on developing and growing the three hospitals under its management.

 

Armin Ernst is a C-level executive physician with extensive managerial experience in building integrated, high-performance systems and teams within large academic medical centers, ambulatory care systems and for profit/non-profit health care environments. Prior to joining Steward Health Care, Armin has served Vitals Global Healthcare and the Beth Deaconess Medical Center. He has a Masters of Science in Health Care Management obtained from Harvard University of Public Health, and he is globally recognised as an academic clinician and teacher in his field.

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