Health City signs deal with St. Maarten

Health City staff, government leaders and visiting officials from St. Maarten gathered for the announcement Monday.

Patients from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten will be brought to Grand Cayman on weekly charter flights for medical treatment at Health City Cayman Islands, the hospital’s owners announced Monday.

The direct flights, using Cayman Airways’ Saab plane, were scheduled to begin Tuesday following an agreement between Health City and SZV Social and Health Insurances, the government-owned national health insurer in St. Maarten.

Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO and head of Medical Services at the East End hospital, said the agreement demonstrates the facility’s expanding reach across the region.

“The agreement with SZV adds to an increasing number of agreements signed by Health City Cayman Islands, regional governments and insurance providers to become a service provider of choice for specialized tertiary care. Such agreements underscore Health City Cayman Islands’ ongoing commitment to develop medical tourism in the Cayman Islands.”

He said Health City has a number of other agreements in Caribbean and Latin American markets, as well as agreements with self-insured companies in the U.S., and treated patients from 60 countries in 2016.

He said, “As our third anniversary approaches on April 2, we have treated over 25,000 outpatients and close to 3,000 inpatients to date. Health City Cayman Islands has achieved these numbers while maintaining the highest quality of care standards, bringing medical innovation to the region, and continually expanding into new markets.”

As part of the agreement with SZV Social and Health Insurances, Health City will provide tertiary healthcare to St. Maarten patients who are awaiting treatment that is unavailable in their country.

Emil Lee, minister of Labor, Health and Social Development for St. Maarten, was in the Cayman Islands on Monday for the announcement.

He said, “Health City Cayman Islands provides St. Maarten residents with skilled medical personnel and leading-edge diagnostic and surgical procedures and techniques, with proven success rates. The direct flights provide ease of access to St. Maarten residents, including a visa-free travel experience for citizens, without the need for lengthy layovers. We see this as a beneficial partnership for both territories and look forward to its continuation.”

Chief Operating Officer of SZV Social and Health Insurances Ramzy Dennaoui said the involvement of Cayman Airways made the agreement possible. He said SZV is working to get the best care, closest to home for its clients, and the direct charter flights made Health City the best option.

The inaugural flight will leave Grand Cayman for St. Maarten on Tuesday, returning the following day with the first plane load of patients.

It is anticipated that the direct charter flights will continue for an initial period of six weeks, with approximately 20 people on board each flight. Once the schedule is completed, flights will continue on an as-needed basis, according to Cayman Airways CEO Fabian Whorms.

Premier Alden McLaughlin added, “We hope to see the number of tourists significantly increasing as patients and their families come to the Cayman Islands for healing and care, meaning more money will enter our economy.

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