Health authority celebrates 10th anniversary

Message from the Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture, Mark Scotland

July 2012 marks an important milestone for healthcare in the Cayman Islands as it marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Health Services Authority.

Although the last 10 years have seen some challenging times, I am extremely pleased to say that the young authority has fared impressively well; weathering Hurricane Ivan, seeing a financial turn-around, completing the renovation of Faith Hospital following Hurricane Paloma, as well as the streamlining of other necessary internal processes to ensure top-notch healthcare to all residents of our Islands detailed in the Authority’s 2010-2015 Strategic Plan.

In the past 10 years, the HSA has expanded services throughout its facilities, including a wider variety of physiotherapy services which now encompasses home care, the hiring of another full time ophthalmologist and an additional physician hired to reduce waiting time for appointments in Obstetrics/Gynaecology. Additionally, services in the District Health Centres have been enhanced to include more dental and general practice clinics, particularly in West Bay and Bodden Town, as well as Faith Hospital and Little Cayman Health Centre, in an effort to provide better services for the residents of the Cayman Islands .

An exciting venture this year has been the introduction of enhanced MRI scanning capabilities at the Cayman Islands Hospital. Through a partnership with 3T Cayman, the HSA has ensured that more patients will be able to get diagnostic tests and treatment on island, thus negating the inconvenience and significant expense of travelling overseas. This venture follows other successful improvements in diagnostic capabilities at the HSA, such as the introduction of digital mammography, a joint venture with the Cancer Society; the installation of a 64 slice CT scanner and the installation of digital radiography.

Moving forward, 2012 has already seen a number of exciting developments for healthcare under the guide of the HSA.

Following on from the implementation of the CarePay electronic verification system that was implemented for CINICO members last year, this year has also seen the launch of the Real Time Adjudication system by CINICO in collaboration with the HSA. This furthers the HSA’s goals to provide a more streamlined and efficient approach to the provision of its services. RTA, which allows real time processing of insurance claims and benefits, is in place at all District Health Centres across Grand Cayman as well the Cayman Islands and Faith Hospital.

In keeping with the five year strategic plan, this year enhancements to clinical quality and patient care are also been evident at the HSA with the institution of the Collaborative Care Initiative, a quality and performance improvement initiative. This programme will see all health practitioners including physicians and dentists across all departments within the HSA engaging in establishing quality benchmarks of clinical care in order to improve patient care and access. I see this as an important breakthrough for improving quality care on all levels and support the HSA as they continue to implement this initiative.

The creation of physician heads of department has also been an extremely important and necessary enhancement to the system; allowing physicians the ability to align patient care with patients’ needs and expectations, while at the same time improving patient satisfaction and enhancing revenue.

Continuing in their efforts, we have also seen that greater integration of emergency service staff with A&E and District Health Centre operations; leading to increased efficiency and better customer service.

The ‘Be Fit Cayman’ programme created by the Public Health team and launched this year in conjunction with Radio Cayman is another important initiative. The programme emphasises the importance of physical activity and seeks to educate the public on prevention and management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma, all chronic conditions that are unfortunately on the rise not only in the Cayman Islands but worldwide.

In recent years, we have welcomed home more young Caymanians who have chosen healthcare as their profession. Many have chosen to work at the HSA and they are welcome additions to the healthcare workforce. I would like to encourage more youngsters to choose careers in Health as we continue to develop the health services in our country.

The development of the National Health Policy and Strategic Plan is a vital goal of the Ministry, working in tandem with the HSA. The National Health Policy outlines the government’s specific goals for the country’s healthcare system in the medium to long term. These developments all fall in line with the government’s overall aim to enhance and improve Cayman’s healthcare system to the point where it is a standard bearer for the Caribbean, and indeed the world.

The continuous improvements to the services offered by the HSA over the past 10 years all serve to highlight the importance of a collaborative effort by everyone in Cayman. By working together, we believe we have the ability to continue to make our healthcare goals a reality.

I would like to thank the committed staff across all three islands, as well as the chairman Canover Watson and members of the HSA board and other countless volunteers that have played their part over the last 10 years.

A special thank you to the authority’s CEO Lizzette Yearwood, along with her senior management team, for their continued dedication and tireless efforts.

On behalf of the Cayman Islands Government, I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the public for their unwavering support, which has greatly helped the HSA be so successful in implementing these positive changes. I am hopeful for a bright and healthy future for all living here.

The continuous improvements to the services offered by the HSA over the past 10 years all serve to highlight the importance of a collaborative effort by everyone in Cayman.