Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals of India has entered into a partnership with Ascension Health Alliance of the USA to build Dr. Devi Shetty’s hospital on Grand Cayman. This investment will offer medical care for those living on the island, the Caribbean region and the USA.
Ascension Health Alliance is the largest Catholic and non-profit health system in the USA. The group has been working with Dr. Shetty for two years to explore ways to adapt his Indian hospital technique of providing healthcare at low cost to a relatively high cost destination.
The Health City is a US$2 billion project that is scheduled to break ground in August. It will be built in phases over 15 years on a 200-acre site in East End, and will initially be a 140-bed hospital opening with a planned opening date of September or October of 2013.
Ascension will own part of the new hospital in Cayman under the partnership deal and will handle group purchasing, facilities management and biomedical engineering services, while Narayana Hrudayalaya will manage the hospital. If the hospital gets to the planned 2000 beds it will provide services not widely available in the region such as open-heart/bypass surgery, angioplasty, heart-valve replacement, cancer treatment, bone-marrow transplant, nuclear medicine, organ transplant (if the necessary new law is passed) and orthopaedics.
Ascension Health manages more than 17,000 beds spread across 69 hospitals in the USA, while Dr. Shetty’s group has 14 hospitals in 11 cities, with 5,600 beds. Three major medical equipment suppliers will supply the new hospital in Cayman equipment at the same price as Narayana pays in India. The motive for Ascension’s involvement seems to be a desire to learn new ways of offering healthcare at a lower cost in its US hospitals.
Whether patients will choose to go to the Caymans rather than Miami remains to be seen. US patients would have to be self-pay as suggestions that people buying insurance from new US state health exchanges forget that the agreed product design for insurances offered there do not include medical tourism outside the USA. Even a 140-bed hospital would need to attract close to 10,000 patients a year to achieve a profit making occupancy level, while a 2,000 bed Cayman hospital would need over 150,000 medical tourists a year.
The Cayman Islands is a British overseas territory in the Caribbean Sea, with just 51.000 inhabitants. Grand Cayman is south of Cuba on the east coast of the US mainland. Florida is the closest US state, which is why Miami is the main competition.
Clan Construction, a Cayman-based company, has been selected as the general contractor to supervise and build phase one, assisted by DeAngelis Diamond Health Care Group of Naples, Florida, which has experience in providing specialty services for construction of hospitals. Phase one is being designed to withstand hurricanes and will have full standby power and water. The first building will be a two-storey, low-density structure.