Hospital chain Fortis Healthcare is expanding its flagship cardiac hospital brand Escorts Heart Institutes’ as a separate unit within its newly acquired hospitals. It has already opened Escorts Heart Institute in Chennai’s Malar Hospital and plans to position the brand as a cardiac speciality unit in its other recently acquired multispeciality hospitals. Fortis is expanding its presence both within India and abroad. In 2007, Fortis acquired Malar Hospital and last month forayed into the international market by acquiring Clinique Darne in Mauritius. In January it also bought over Bangalore-based Apollo RM Hospital. Fortis Healthcare CEO and MD Shivinder Singh said, “We have a good cardiac team in Malar Hospital who can go with the reputation of the Escorts brand. We may consider expanding Escorts brand in other new hospitals including Clinique Darne in Mauritius.” Meanwhile, almost two years after renowned cardiologist Dr Naresh Trehan left Escorts Heart Institute along with several doctors, the hospital has for the first time managed full occupancy. This has been possible due to expansion of medical services and induction of reputed doctors, including Escorts’ co-founder Dr Ashok Seth who was roped in from Max India. “Escorts’ occupancy had dropped to 60-65% from around 88% during Dr Trehan’s tenure. Now it has moved up over 97% for the last few weeks as the whole team has delivered,” said Mr Singh. In May 2007, Dr Trehan made a controversial exit from Escorts. His departure, along with several doctors and over 80 nurses adversely impacted patient inflow at Escorts. Last August, Escorts roped in Dr Ashok Seth after he had fallen out with the owners of Max Healthcare. Incidentally, Dr Trehan and Dr Seth were the co-founders of Escorts before Dr Seth moved out to start Max Devki Devi Heart & Vascular Institute under Max Group owner Analjit Singh. Incidentally, the number of cardiac care treatment in Max India dropped 17% to 1,600 during the quarter ended December 31, 2008 from the same period in 2007.