Monday, March 14, 2011

Dr. Yang Min-Sheng reflects on his life journey in an interview with the National Taiwan University Alumni Magazine -Part II

A father and son’s big dream

Upon his retirement thirty years later, his son, Dr. Fred Yang came back from the United States with the ambition of not just carry on with his father’s business, but to expand it and make it more sustainable.

After receiving his M.D from NTU and completing his residency at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Dr. Fred Yang went on to study public health at Harvard and business management under Peter Drucker. As he was about to launch his own career in the U.S, he received a letter from his father urging him to come back to Taiwan.

Dr. Yang Min-Sheng recalls: “When we were at our old san-Min Campus we used to encounter operation bottlenecks. We hardly had any competitive advantage, and couldn’t deliver sustainable financial results and medical quality. Therefore I wrote to my son and asked him to come back”. Within two weeks Fred Yang had brought his entire family back to Taiwan. “I was surprised and deeply moved. My son had heard my plea.”

Turning a crisis into an opportunity

What Dr. Fred Yang saw was an opportunity. In order to establish a healthy financial structure, he appointed an American finance expert as Vice President. A project to build a new hospital got underway in 2001, but construction costs overrun, the SARS epidemic outbreak of 2003 and a reduction in reimbursements from the National Health Insurance led the hospital to face new financial challenges.

In 2007, Dr. Yang stunned everyone by entering a “sell and lease back” agreement for the hospital’s ground and building with Insurance giant ING. This move relieved the hospital from financial stress, and provided Dr. Fred Yang with the leverage to expand his healthcare business and to work towards fulfilling his dream of managing 100 facilities within 10 years through mergers and acquisitions.
In order to manage his growing healthcare business efficiently and effectively Dr. Fred Yang formed a management company, Health Care Corporation of Asia (HCCA) which he put in charge of HR, strategic planning, and finance for all the facilities of the Min-Sheng group. He invited Dr. Steve Chan, the former Minister for Health, as board chairman of HCCA.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yang formed another healthcare logistics company, ShareHope, to integrate purchases of medications and other medical supplies, as well as laundry service for all Min-Sheng facilities. Thanks to this centralized management, operations and logistics costs have been greatly reduced. Both ShareHope and HCCA are expected to be eventually listed on the stock market.

To keep improvements in quality in pace with the facilities expansion, Dr. Yang started recruiting doctors and professors from National Taiwan University such as Prof. Lee Yuan-The and Prof. Chang Yang-Chyuan. Today, nearly 80% of the doctors at Min-Sheng served at NTUH, and the improvement in quality was recognized through Joint Commission International hospital accreditation in 2006.

Dr. Fred Yang has successfully transformed and elevated Min-Sheng from simply operating hospitals to running a healthcare business. He is now ready venture in the Greater China market, and embrace opportunities in the biotechnology field.

Life after retirement

With his son firmly in charge, Dr. Yang Min-Sheng has been able to enjoy happy and carefree retirement. “He -Fred Yang- is accountable for the future of Min-Sheng. I am glad to see that he performs beyond my expectations.” What accompany Dr. Yang Min-Sheng these days are not scalpels and syringes, but books, poems, music, chess, golf, friends, and his wife.


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