Public health care becomes publicly traded commodity
A big financial boost is on the way for the Jewish General Hospital, the world’s first public healthcare institution to be listed on the Montreal Stock Exchange—a move that will raise tens of millions of dollars for patient services.
Now that the Canadian Securities Regulatory Agency has cleared the JGH for trading, investors can entrust not only their well-being, but their savings to the healthcare institution that has symbolized compassionate care and financial acumen since 1934.
This two-pronged approach has inspired what will soon become the JGH’s new motto: “Make a wise investment in the hospital that won’t gamble with your health.”
“Gone are the days of wondering about the financial viability of public health care,” says JGH spokeswoman Madeleine le Phonie. “In this new era, our hospital will not only pay for itself, but will reward any investor who shows the same loyalty that has been a hallmark of our patients, staff and volunteers for more than eight decades.”
As the Initial Public Offering gets under way, the hospital’s already-elevated levels of safety and quality are expected to surge. Administrators are pushing for higher standards of care, in order to achieve greater patient satisfaction and, consequently, a steady increase in the value of the stock.
As a further bonus, savvy investors who purchase the deluxe Rx-Class Shares will be eligible for a number of dividend-like premiums, including ultra-fast-track service for blood tests and colonoscopies, a 50‑per-cent discount at all of the hospital’s on-site food outlets, and one house call per year by a family physician within a 50-kilometre radius of the JGH.
Also on the horizon is a system for trading options on the activities of various clinical departments. For example, in Maternity, an electronic display board will constantly be updated in real time to show the projected due dates for each pregnancy. Investors will be able to trade options based on the day, hour and minute of each non-caesarean delivery, as well as on the total hours and minutes of labour of each expectant mother.
To help investors stay abreast of the hospital’s constantly changing share price, electronic stock tickers are being installed at each of the major entrances, as well as in waiting rooms, washrooms, operating rooms, lounges and cafeterias across the JGH.
The IT Department has also arranged for the share price to be flashed on the screens of employees’ computers and medical equipment, and on smartphones and wireless devices in every building on the JGH campus.
To make the purchase of JGH shares especially convenient, a small brokerage kiosk will soon be erected in the main lobby, where investors can place trades before heading to their appointments.
So unique is this activity in a hospital environment that the JGH’s Finance Department has even opened a brand new division—the Financial Office of Liquidity and Equities (FOOLE). Since the division is being launched this month, it has already earned the nickname “April FOOLE”.
“We were disappointed when the government refused our request to include a casino in the construction plans for Pavilion K,” says Ms. le Phonie. “But that doesn’t matter any more. Now that we’ve traded gambling chips for blue-chip investing, it’s just a matter of time before the money starts rolling in.”