The second annual National Health Care 20/20 Conference will be held 17-19 November, at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman focusing on the crucial issue of “Health Care Economics: The Search for Quality and Affordability”.
Minister of Health Mark Scotland recently sat down to answer some questions about the conference.
Q. What is your vision for the conference this year?
A: This year’s Conference provides an incredible opportunity to gain valuable insight on developing and maintaining a viable health care system that will serve the Cayman Islands now and for future generations. I urge all stakeholders to attend this free conference to listen, discuss and debate the issues so we can come to a consensus on the way forward. The issues are complex, to be sure, but the solutions are attainable.
Q. Why is this year’s theme so important to Cayman?
A. Considering the worldwide economic situation, the timing of this conference could not be more appropriate. As the world continues to struggle in a difficult economic climate, in Cayman we have to learn to deal with the fiscal reality of limited resources and still find a way to provide the best quality health care available. We have to change the way we look at the medical industry and how it is funded and managed.
The foundation of health care should be evidence-based practices and scientific principles, not doctor or patient preference and old habits.
Q. What do you hope to achieve at this conference?
A. Over the long term, we hope that this conference leads us to a sustainable and equitable model of health care for all of us in the Cayman Islands. In fact, we have the capability to develop a system that can be used as a model worldwide. Before that happens, we need to provide the impetus for all industry stakeholders to work together to address the issue of providing affordable, quality health care for everyone in Cayman. We are talking about both public and private hospitals, doctors, health insurers, employers, employees and individuals.
Q. Many of the speakers are international experts in their fields. Can you tell us about some of the people scheduled to address the conference? A. We are bringing together an impressive group of experts whose collective knowledge spans everything from health insurance to reducing waste to medical tourism. I am eager to learn from the expertise that they all bring to the table.
Among those participating are Tomas Philipson – a leading health care economist from the University of Chicago, Elinor Caplan, former Canadian Provincial Minister of Health, Dr. Jennifer Attride-Stirling, CEO of the Bermuda Health Council, Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association, Keith Allred of the HB Strategy Group, Ralph Lawson of Baptist International and Brent James from Intermountain. These speakers will be joined by other renowned international experts and by many of the leading names in health care in Cayman.
Q. Who is sponsoring the conference this year?
A. As you can imagine, putting together a conference of this magnitude requires financial and organisational support – particularly as it is free for delegates to attend – and I am so thankful to all of our sponsors who have enabled the Ministry of Health to hold this event. In particular I would like to express my gratitude to our premium sponsors who are: Tenent Health care, Tower Marketing and the Health Services Authority.
Q. This is the second annual National Health care Conference. Almost a year down the line, what would you say was the legacy of the first one?
A. Last year’s conference focused on creating a comprehensive development plan for health care in the Cayman Islands and we have made significant strides in that direction. I will just mention a few. The Ministry of Health has recently established a Health care Cost Review Committee to examine how best to reduce the overall cost of health care. We have also implemented CayHealth with a focus on preventative measures and primary health care, thus relieving the pressure on emergency and acute care services.
The HSA has upgraded their operating theatres. One new room has been built, while others have been renovated so that expanded services, such as the cardiac catheterization lab, can be offered. On-island clinical procedures such as neurosurgery are now available, which helps avoid off-island transfers. These services improve patient care and convenience, while reducing costs.
Together with CINICO, we are introducing CarePay, an instant insurance verification system, which will streamline the payment process for CINICO patients at the HSA.
More announcements will be made. Meanwhile, I look forward to all that we will learn from the upcoming National Health care Conference and implementing positive, meaningful changes to our health care system.