Hospital faces challenges

| 06/12/2013

(CNS): Getting patients to Health City Cayman Islands will not be easy to begin with, local partner Gene Thompson admitted Thursday during an update on the development, the brainchild of world-renowned Indian heart surgeon, Dr Devi Shetty, which, it is hoped, will launch Cayman’s medical tourism product. The North American market is still a target area, Thompson said, but initially patients will be coming from the Caribbean. However, with few direct flights between Cayman and other islands in the region, getting the patients here will prove challenging. Thompson said that the team is in talks with Cayman Airways, other airlines including BlueSky and Cayman’s latest airline, Exec Jets, as well as government, but in the beginning travel will be “a huge challenge”. (Left: ICU almost complete)

However, the massive difference in the cost of the procedures would go some way to offsetting the travel costs and difficulties that patients from the Caribbean would face, Thompson maintained.

The Caribbean was identified as the first area where patients would come from, he said, because it would take the hospital around six months from its opening to gain the necessary Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation before it can accept American patients. Thompson said that it would “be great to have” the American market, “but we don’t need it,” he added, as he pointed to the 38 million people in this region.

When Shetty first proposed his idea, his target market was the US because of the Cayman Islands proximity, its western standards and quality of life, as well as the cost of care and limited access to it in the region.

With eyes now on the Caribbean, Thompson said the hospital would not see large numbers in the first few weeks but within four to five months there would be a much higher flow of patients from around the region at the facility.

Despite being a high cost jurisdiction, the model would still work here, Thompson said, noting that they were in discussions with health insurance providers. The Health City Cayman Islands was not about running a business but about “executing a vision”, he said, pointing to Dr Shetty’s desire to change the way that healthcare is provided the world over.

Thompson said that there were many people in the Caribbean without access to healthcare in the region and the group had already identified blocks of patients that were in dire need of affordable healthcare. He pointed out that there are many people in need of health care that have no coverage at all and Dr Shetty would be providing 100 children from around the Caribbean with free heart surgery when the facility opens next year.

The grand opening date is on schedule for 25 February and the hospital is expected to welcome its first patients some ten days or so later.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    With free heart surgery for the first few annointed in on the ground floor, the hospital will be a success for at least its opening…and I bet the copper in those building are worth alot thereafter.

  2. Anonymous says:

    this project changes its goals and aims every 5 mins….

    the whole concept does not make sense in the cayman islands…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Think long term. This will work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hopefully you can get your colonoscopy at Health City without having to worry about having a contaminated instrument put up your rear end.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I believe government is in need of a dedicated mental facility. What better place than a building born of a crazy idea.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hope it raises it’s customer service & standards over all! Competition is always good! Bracka

  5. Henry 111 says:

    16.57 I would rather put my  life in the hands of doctors who if screws up, can pay for any potential losses  of income, etc…..where as in cayman it is capped. our legislators  saw it fit  that a life or worst yet  you live post surgery and unable to work  for  the rest of your life is only worth $500k. 

  6. And AnotherTing says:

    Good thoughts, but , does Cayman Airways have the resources and Management know how to even think about your proposition.  The country could indeed benefit substantially, if it allowed a regional carrier for example as mentioned Copa, to run  an operation through here, perhaps partnering with Cayman Airways for routes that it presently services. This will not only enhance the revenue of the Airport Authority but will also provide added tourism. Indeed a  strategic and successful move for the Cayman a islands and would add value to the proposed expansion of the Airport terminal and runways. Read PWc's report on the lack of government's strategic  objectives  for the airport expansion.And another Ting.


  7. Anonymous says:

    He also needs solve the upcoming problem of the probable $400.00 cab fare from airport to east end

    • Anonymous says:

      this should be easy and is probably already taken care of- a hospital shuttle or 2.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cayman's geographic position would great to be an international air hub. Think about it; we're in between Cuba, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize & Mexico. We're also not shy off of the rest of Central America. Other mainland caribbean islands like Hispaniola & Puerto Rico would only be 2-2.5 hours flights away. Cayman could start linking Trinidad.

    If Cayman Airways followed Copa Airlines' business model, utiliziing its geographic location to its advantage, Owen Roberts could act as a gateway to the Caribbean & Latin America. And they're one of the fastest growing airlines out there. It would make visiting our shores easier and more connected to the region and make it easier for tourists/patients/locals to travel around.


    Just a thought. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I've got a better location – Cuba. Plenty of space, cheap labour and loads of military-trained aviation specialists available. Right now they are already turning round 100s of modern European and Canadian aircraft carrying tourists with no problems so when the country opens up, and that will be long before either the cruise dock is built or ORA is expanded, this would be a far more logical move.

    • Anonymous says:

      Southwest Airlines

  9. Anonymous says:

    Gene wants to roll the dice on this one with his money, none of us have anything to loose by this exercise.  It may not have been what you or I would have done with similar means, but hey, who cares?!?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The internet in east end is so slow especially  In the morning and evening.

    They say its due to large internet traffic.

    I say its due to lack of investment.

    They say they just spent so much money upgrading to shetty hospital

    I say I pay you 150 per month hospital pays nothing.

    I wonder how slow it is in West Bay


  11. Ike N. Sienow says:

    I commented on this boondoggle about a year ago and it is still a boondoggle.  It's in the same class as Cayman Enterprise City.  Do you wonder who REALLY benefits???  It isn't us taxpayers!

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Enterprise City has never broken ground.   The Hospital is nearing completion.   That is quite a bit of difference.  Long term success remains to be seen.  But I give the hospital a much greater chance than CEC.

    • Hear, hear - says:

      Dear IKE,

      Barbados could not get their act together quickly enough for the Shetty Hospital and their Senators are licking their wounds and crying in their beer that we got Shetty.  It was a major part of the BIBA presenation last month in Bridgetown and so was the topic of catching up to CEC and the 75 companies that have signed up in Cayman.  (The revenue there is new bodies in the economy, new seeds planted for business…)

      Jamaica has a very successful IVF clinic (so does Bahamas)- Medical tourism is no boondogle and timing is perfect with Obamacare woes.

      Shetty has one of the strongest USA health partners and with 77 hospitals, it would be hard to call this a boondogle! Do a little research before you spread misinformation please.

      • Anonymously says:

        Boondogly it is! If this hospital is as successful as it is touted to be then the Ritz Carlton has solved Cayman's employment woes .  CEC is operating at full capacity and is the headquarters of 90% of the Fortune 500 companies generating so much revenue CIG  is debt free. If only pigs could fly, this is true psst I have a spinning wheel that can turn straw into gold any takers before Barbados considers hurry please! 

  12. Anonymous says:

    CI Govt took the deal. Developer got all the concessions up front and is now changing the story. What??? Thanks a lot Mac!

  13. Spirit of Ormond Panton lives says:

    With all the concessions written into the agreement between the last government, Shetty and his 'partner' Gene Thompson it's really tiring to hear the moaning and excuses from Gene.

    If the project requires greater airlift capacity buy into an airline to service your client base. If the project requires improvements in infrastructure perhaps Gene, Shetty, Chandi,Imperato and the Ascension Health group should dig into their own pockets, find funding and remember all the promises about the entire project being self funded by Dr. Shetty when everyone was invited to the hear the findings of the swanky $300k Grant Thornton economic impact study presented by the slick talking Gene Thompson who made every promise under the sun.  

    The Developers of this project stand to do very well in this venture because the Cayman public are paying for all the infrastructural costs, airport enhancements,  roads and changes in law to accommodate doctors from India that do not qualify to practice medicine in the USA, UK and Canada whilst Cayman will be miss out on millions in duties. Great deal eh?

    At least Dart give back to the community and built parks to distract us from the skulduggery and poor negotiations of an inept civil service and incompetent government. I only hope the ppm will be more progressive in dealing with these developers.

  14. 4 Cayman says:

    I don't understand why heart surgery would be cheaper in cayman than say in USA  or India? The cost of living here in cayman is exorbitant, including insurances and everything is imported. Mr. Thompson if you could elaborate on these "cheaper" statements you keep referring to I would be most appreciative.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not cheaper than India but definitely cheaper than the U. S. Where the major driver is the cost of malpractice insurance which us why the law was passed to cap potential claims for nob-pecuniary losses.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is why you should leave hospital building to people who know something about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      14.18, you've obviously never had medical treatment in the US. There is a happy dance over there between the hospitals, the drug companies, the lawyers and the insurance companies, the result of which are prices that bear no apparent relation to the treatment given. This year I saw  bills from the Baptist Hospital for care of a premature baby. The period billed was 30 days.The total was over $420,000.  Room for savings, I believe.

      You might also want to consider that France and the UK spend between 7.5 and 8.2% of GDP on healthcare, and manage to offer treatment to all who need  it, whereas in America the percentage of GDP they spend is closer to 20%, and they don't reach everyone.

      I take a drug that in the UK costs me CI$32, whereas the exact same product in America would cost me $550. I hope that answers your question.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cost me, or my insurer, $8,000 for a strep throat diagnosis in Boston, in house coverage didn't cost me a penny, my insurer paid them out 100%.  Same diagnosis at GT hospital 2 years later cost $140, for which I had to pay 20% – go figure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Though gas and electricity are much cheaper in the US…healthcare is three or four times the cost of Cayman or the rest of the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because Mac agreed to limit liability for negligence to far below the losses that a patient will often incur.  The moral hazard implications are obvious, unless of course you are a gardener with a 5th grade education.

      • Anonymous says:

        What are moral hazard implications? I have a professional certification. Have faith and everyting will be alright. Living life is dangerous and a subject to the "moral hazard implications".

        • Anonymous says:

          Do you even know what "moral hazard" is about?  I doubt it.  Capping liability increases risky behaviours because the economic costs of negligence are transferred away from the wrongdoer.  The practical effect of the cap is to transfer the costs from the health care providers to the patients or, more likely, the taxpayers of the home country of the patients.  Patients will underestimate the risks and costs of a catastrophic negligent event, and the statutory cap will simply mean that the provider does not have to take economic responsibility for the harm caused because those caused have been largely externalised.  "Having faith" is a lovely sentiment but it tends to involve a poor assessment of risk, cost and risk avoidance strategies.

          • Anonymous says:

            How is that different from taking a dive trip and signing away your life?

    • Dred says:

      Its actually not that hard really. Their doctors are not rushing off to a round of golf every afternoon. They actually do MORE with LESS. For all intense purposes they operate their hospital like a wholesale where they do more surgeries with less doctors so the cost savings goes back into lower fees.

      The US doctors operate with more stringent guidelines. Some say it is to protect us and many more say its more about them. At Shetty hospitals its about working hard and doing more surgeries. Their doctors generally do two to three times what US based doctors do and their mortality rate is better also so it is not a drop in quality either.

      Go SHETTY!!!! Competition is so good to have. Aah soon we may have affordable health care. .

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just cheaper but massively cheaper!

  15. Here we go..... says:

    No doubt we need an international length runway in East End. Paid for by the taxpayer.

    • Castor says:

      You have hit the nail squarely on the head. Just wait……. if not a runway…. more concessions…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    So if I'm understanding this correctly. We are now noticing that we have few flights between islands? This should have been thought of first before spending money on this hospital. This issue should have been taken care of in the first place. In my opinion, the airport should have been the first thing worked on as it is our greatest source of revenue. 

    • Anonymous says:

      That's why investing in the port chasing tourist buying t-shirts is a bad idea. We should be investing in the airport instead where the tourists coming through spend far more money on island.

    • Anonymous says:

      You may only now be noticing but that doesn't mean it hasn't been thought of before, You may also have noticed that Cayman connects with Miami which connects with everything touching the Caribbean. Most of your international traffic already makes a connection to get here. BTW, "we" did not spend any money on the hospital.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:49 why do you care if the money was spent?  It wasn't government money.  This is private investment in this country and if anything the construction of it has employed the unemployable amongst our citizens who are now able to continue with the fresh start they were given.  I have no interest in this development one way or another other than being a Caymanian who as I get older begin to face health issues that this facility will be able to address such as advanced cardiac care but as government isn't paying for it and if the investors are willing to risk it what is your problem with them spending money here?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if Cayman Airways will be able to pull their weight on this one… because I feel doubtful they will. They will need to attract more airlines here if this is to be successful imo.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, between Shetty and Gene they should subsidize the lease on another aircraft to be utilised to fly to strategic destinations in the Caribbean and LAtin. Sort of like Bill Young used to do with Sunworld Airlines when he owned the Marriott and Westin.

      Does everyone remember the Apple Vacations, Sun Country, Cayman Express (Cayman Airways) and all the other charters that helped bil the hotel and condo business in Cayman?. These worked because of agreements between the hotels/condos and the charter companies. Of course this was before Shomari's time but now he may actually think out of the box and not run around trying to get every airline to come year round. Cayman is too small for that. Work with the seasonal charters that can operate year round based on demand. Scheduled airlines can't do that.

  18. WillYaListen! says:

    I know it's all business but is it possible to talk about patients (potential or otherwise) as something other than international cargo?

    All about money I know but let's havea little compassion or at least give lip service to it. 


    • Anonymous says:

      10:31 you are delusional if you think healthcare in the modern world is anything but consumer driven and about profits.  It is the CUSTOMER's responsibility to educate themselves, take care of their health and become a savvy consumer of healthcare services.  What a good healthcare industry provider does is provide excellent customer service.  This is a truism about most of global healthcare like it or not

  19. Anonymous says:

    Everything else seemed sowell planned, how come they are only just figuring this out now? Strange. Let's hope it all works out.

    Any news when CEC will really break ground or even buy land?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well if they are going to buy land, they better do so before the passing of the new Conservation Law! Cause it sure as won't make it any easier for them, or any other development, after that is law. Don't believe me? Want to give me Thumbs Down? Go ahead, time will surely tell.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure I know when…when pigs fly!!!

      CEC is nothing but a farce to avoid paying work permits and company fees…Look at their advertising..Cayman is going to lose more than they will ever gain from this.

    • Knot S Smart says:

      I understand that CEC will be breaking ground for their buildings the year after next never…

    • Anonymous says:

      As you say, "everything else seemed so well planned." I doubt this is going to be the only strange thing that will turn up in the media about this rather curious project. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps everything else was not so carefully planned. Let's not forget where we are. 

  20. Anonymous says:

    Cayman must somehow establish its first direct flight from the West Coast of the U.S.  This is a large, untapped market and there are few inexpensive connections from there that don't require a red-eye flight.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      CAL must become a low cost carrier like South West airlines.

      Trim the fat starting with the management, vp's and pilots who run the airline like a hobby at our expense yet they all collect over CI$11,000 per month. Yet CAL continues to incur  a 15m annual subsidy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn't he talk to Cayman Airways about putting in flights into San Juan, Puerto Rico and Panama. Those are the two major hubs in the Caribbean and would open up Cayman to the rest of the Caribbean and to Latin America.

    United States is still in the poor house and with all of their insecurities with homeland protection, it is only going to get worse and even Caymanians in the future may have problems getting in and out of there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because Miami already serves that function.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Aiways is just not big enough to supply the rest of the Caribbean. It is a government owned ball and chain that relies on subsidies to keep operating. Where on earth is all the money coming from to invest in larger and more modern aircraft, in fact exactly who is going to foot the bill for any expansion?

      Cayman Airways is an outdated model of a nationalised airline, why do you think most successful airlines are privatised? 

      The fact is that Cayman's politicians and planners have messed up again. No forward thinking, no strategic planning, just knee jerk reactions and regrets. 

      Same old story of incompetence, you just couldn't make this s##t up.


    • I miss Marius says:

      San Juan is part of the United States and it offers state of the art hospital services that are already approved by the Joint Commission.

    • Anonymous says:

      Panama already running, just typically poor marketing by our national money loosing carrier.

    • Anonymous says:

      Already an established John Hopkins in Panama.

  22. Anonymous says:

    so people from poorer countries are going to travel to a high cost destination like cayman and somehow save a fortune on medical expenses?????

    something is not right……..

    • Anonymous says:

      Compared to the U.S., yes.

    • Anonymous says:

      The "poor" countries usually have an elite who rape their own country.


      They have some serious coin. Just ask "baby doc" from Haiti.

    • Anonymous says:

      There are a lot of wealthy people who live in relatively poor Caribbean countries who would be willing to travel for first class medical care.  Comparatively speaking, the cost of a flight to and fron Cayman is minuscule compared to medical expenses in the U.S.!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Gene Thompson knows very well that he will be over crowded the very first day.  As long as he can help keep the standards of the hospital.  The CI Goverment Hospital will have to be used for something else if Health City can do what it claims to want.

    Sometimes you have to wonder if between CINICO and the Gov Hospital, there is someone running the show that do not want to see this 2  facilities progress. It amazes me how so eager the staff have become to give you the most difficult and bad attitudes. They basicaly do not want your buisness and they will make you feel that. Now I am not saying that all the staff are the same, but most of the front line staff should not be near any hospital, or should try to get a Job in there home country to see what would happen upon application.

    If possible that Gene could  inquiry from the cayman public how many persons have started to train as nurses or other areas that this hospital will require, or will he be told it would be his responsibility to hire and train everyone? If and when I have to use the hospital, I would want to know that I did not go to Gov Hospital due to the un-professional feeling of the place, and I am expecting that if I will be attended to at health City,while I am in pains or grumpy that I can be given the service that I would expect to be paying for.

    Gene I really hope it all works out well and you are able to make it work with a good cross section of Nurses and Doctors, and front line staff to make the place very inviting to everyone. 


    • I miss Marius says:

      The Health City will offer specialty tertiary procedures.  They do hot have an offering to heal your "pains or grumpy" (you will still have to go to George Town for those ailments).  Gene will also not be capable of fixing poor grammar.