Shetty hospital hopes for major patient jump

| 13/05/2015 | 1 Comment

(CNS Business): Health City Cayman Islands marked a major milestone on Wednesday when it announced that it had received accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI). This means that Dr Devi Shetty’s first and only hospital outside India can now begin to target the US market in earnest as first intended. The hospital’s goal is to boost capacity from just 22% at present to as much as 75% in a short space of time.

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Health City press conference

The milestone, which was marked with a press briefing at the East End hospital on Wednesday, will also boost hopes for the realization of the long-awaited third leg of Cayman’s economy with medical tourism.

Shetty’s vision had always been to target the US market to offer lower cost but quality healthcare to the country, where it is extremely expensive to get medical attention and where the system has created significant inequality when it comes to access and insurance cover. But attracting patients to the Cayman hospital, staffed mainly by Indian doctors from that market, would have been difficult without accreditation.

With the JCI gold seal of approval, however, coming extremely quickly for the state-of-the-art facility, in which millions of dollars have been invested, that market has become an easier target.

The Cayman Islands premier and health minister, Alden McLaughlin, said that HCCI was only the second hospital in the region to receive the JCI stamp of approval, “placing it on the map for potential patients” from all over the world. The premier said he was “confident that the true potential” of Health City would be achieved with benefits to the wider economy.

A growth in patients will see Cayman Airways, hotels, car rental firms, restaurants and many more local businesses benefiting from the hospital’s expansion.

Doctors confirmed that since it began taking patients just over one year ago, the facility has treated some 4,000 patients and carried out over 330 medical procedures. Dr Chandy Abraham said that was well below capacity but with the JCI approval that would be set to change and the hospital would be approaching three-quarters of its capacity quite soon.

However, John Doyle from Ascension, a faith-based hospital network in the United States that is a partner in the Health City venture, said that, despite the accreditation, it would still take time for US doctors and health insurers to be referring and covering patients for medical treatment at HCCI. He said it would be one of the choices the attending physicians at his hospitals could recommend but he indicated the facility would still “have to prove itself” as a place that can offer high quality healthcare at a lower cost.

HCCI Director of Marketing Shomari Scott explained that while the hospital had not made deals with any of the USA’s leading health insurers, the hospital was targeting self-insured employers in the States as they were more likely to “think outside the box” and consider the possibility of using the Shetty hospital.

He too said it was important for the hospital to demonstrate the positive outcomes, quality of care and value for money before it would be able to attract significant numbers from the North American market. He said that HCCI would be collecting testimonials to demonstrate the outcomes and patient successes.

Scott explained that while the USA was a major target, the hospital was also marketing its services in Canada because even though that country has socialized healthcare, there were waiting lists. People there looking to pay in order to speed up access to surgeries, he said, were potential patients for HCCI.

The hospital also has some interesting expansion plans. While the wider development of the Health City is still some time away, including a hotel to support the hospital, Dr Abraham said the facility would be opening a new state-of-the-art sleep laboratory. He also spoke of plans for developing spinal and neurosurgery as well as bariatric surgery for those suffer from serious obesity.

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Category: Medical Tourism, Tourism

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is fabulous. A new leg for the two-legged Cayman economic stool.

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