Second medical tourism hospital touted

Another potential medical tourism
hospital is in the works.

The news comes on the heels of the
announcement that Indian heart surgeon Devi Shetty plans to build a 2,000-bed
hospital in Cayman.

Howard Peterson, president and CEO
of development company Cayjam Development Ltd., said construction of a 64-bed
tertiary-care hospital, built in a new resort, could begin as early as January,
with local doctors being approached to be the main shareholders and investors.
The hospital could expand to 120 beds within two years of operation.

Mr. Peterson said his company had
been drawing up plans for the new hospital and resort for about five years.

He said building a hospital in a
resort would make it more attractive for visitors. “We are doing it that way
because, contrary to what a lot of people think, you don’t just put up a
building and call it a hospital and attract the people you want to attract.”

Mr. Peterson said he wanted the
hospital, which will cost US$560 million, to be a local enterprise. “We’re
trying to get the local doctors and local people involved as much as possible…
We want them to be a part of it,” he said.

Doctors who invest would be
shareholders in the company and would also have the option to practise out of
the hospital and to refer patients to it, Mr. Peterson said.

Cayjam is also involved in a joint
public-private venture to build a 64-120 bed hospital in Portmore, Jamaica.

Mr. Peterson said he did not
consider that the hospital proposed to be built by Mr. Shetty in Cayman would
be its biggest competition, adding that most of the competition would come from
other facilities throughout the burgeoning medical tourism industry throughout
the Caribbean.

He would not disclose where he
planned to build the hospital and resort, which may initially offer plastic
surgery and cardiology services, but said an international contractor is
looking at the feasibility of the plan. Once that is confirmed, he will seek
planning permission.

“Starting in January next year is
achievable once we can hammer out the details with the contractors,” he said.

Mr. Peterson hopes that if plans
for the hospital go ahead, he can obtain similar perks and concessions that the
government gave to Mr. Shetty and his Narayana Cayman University Medical
Centre.

The government, in a memorandum of
agreement signed with Mr. Shetty in April, agreed to cut the costs of work
permit fees for medical staff, waive taxes on profit, income, gains and
appreciations for 20 years, and exempt the hospital from paying customs or
import duty on the first US$800 million it spends on equipment and medical
supplies.

It also agreed to pass or amend
laws to recognise qualifications of Indian and other overseas medical
professionals working at the hospital.

The agreement also has an
exclusivity clause, which states that no non-Caymanian can set up a large scale
medical tourism facility in Cayman for five years after the Shetty hospital
begins operation.

Mr. Peterson said that as a local
company the exclusivity clause did not extend to his project.

The hospital would be affiliated
with the Cardiovascular Hospitals of America and would seek international
accreditation.

He has already approached the
Health Practice Commission for a certificate to operate.

Dr. Steve Tomlinson, chairman of
the Commission, said Mr. Peterson’s project is just one of several medical
tourism-related applications the Health Practice Commission has seen recently,
with three being received in the last six weeks.

“I’ve never seen more applications
coming in from people interested in establishing medication establishments on
the Island. I don’t know when it is going to stop. All of a sudden, there is so
much interest from America,” he said.

The most recent applications have
included a surgical centre for tourists and locals, a general hospital and a
medical tourism facility.

Mr. Peterson also plans to hold a
large medical tourism conference in Cayman in February. “It will be a
Caribbean-wide conference with a focus on Cayman being a hub for medical
tourism.” Cayjam is working with CPR Communications to organise the conference.

The conference would
also highlight Cayman’s two existing hospitals – the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial
Hospital and the Health Services Authority’s Cayman Islands Hospital – as
facilities where visitors can get primary and secondary care when on Island.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think this is a great idea. While financial institutions are slowly packing up and leaving. It means jobs are leaving the island too. These medical estabilishments means more jobs for the island. It also means UCCI will actually be helpful to those who enroll and want a job with these medical establishments. From doctors, nurses, assitance care, to washers, cleaners, even students will be able to do summers jobs in these hospitals. Im sure the financial industry wasnt’ looked upon as favourable when they started coming to the island either. Same goes with these hospitals. But it is a great shift from one section to another, to keep the jobs in Cayman.

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