Premier: Hospital drops AIS, pharmacy contract remains

CarePay criminal probe referenced in House

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority is no longer using the patient health claims adjudication system managed by Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) Cayman Ltd. and its former Jamaican business partners, Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed Wednesday.

However, a pharmaceuticals management contract that was connected to the AIS negotiations in 2010-2011 is still in place, the premier said.

“The AIS system is not operating,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “There is currently a request for proposals to procure a new [pharmacy] system.”

The contract between the Health Services Authority and AIS Cayman Ltd. ended in the midst of a criminal bribery and fraud investigation that sent former Health Services Authority board chairman Canover Watson to prison earlier this year.

During Watson’s trial, evidence surfaced that Watson, his business partner – admitted racketeer Jeffrey Webb – and several other individuals sought to procure a pharmaceuticals system management contract with the Health Services Authority after they had set up a private sector pharmacy company to operate in Cayman.

That pharmacy – called SuperMed – never began operations in Cayman.

Mr. McLaughlin told lawmakers Wednesday, while responding to a parliamentary question asked by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, that the Health Services Authority was still partially using the pharmaceuticals management system set up by the AIS company’s Indian partner, Suvarna. The premier said that system was being phased out as of Nov. 30, 2016 and a new provider would be selected via the bid process.

After being questioned by East End MLA Arden McLean about the situation, Mr. McLaughlin clarified that the public hospital pharmacy was also partly using an older management system that predated the Suvarna system, which was brought in to work with the AIS patient claims system.

Mr. McLean wondered whether the Cayman Islands would be able to retrieve any portion of the five-year, US$13 million contract it had entered into with AIS Cayman Ltd. in December 2010.

“What recourse does government have on the entire system since it’s not what we asked for?” he said.

Mr. McLaughlin said it was his understanding that the criminal investigation involving AIS Cayman and the CarePay patient swipe-card contract was not directly related to the pharmaceuticals system.

The pharmacy contract was referenced in at least one count of the criminal indictment against Watson, but it was not a major focus of the criminal trial, which ended in February with Watson being sentenced to seven years in prison.

The premier indicated that he could not answer whether the government would seek to recover any costs from the AIS-CarePay contract.

“This is obviously a matter for the HSA board and its legal advisers,” he said.