Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cayman Islands to have a Healthcare City

A renowned Indian heart surgeon has struck a deal to build a 2,000-bed healthcare city in the Cayman Islands to target American patients and insurers searching for deeply discounted medical care.

The British Caribbean territory agreed to the deal with Dr. Devi Shetty, a low-cost healthcare pioneer renowned as Mother Teresa's heart surgeon. The Caymans fulfilled its part of the bargain last week by passing legislation that caps medical negligence claims at U.S.$600,000.

The tiny, affluent territory west of Jamaica has 55,000 residents and is under pressure from Britain to diversify its economy and move away from its tax haven image.
U.S. insurers and employers are under pressure to reduce costs for high-tech procedures for heart, cancer, orthopedics, nuclear medicine and organ transplants, Shetty said. "It will be much easier for insurance companies to buy an air ticket and ask them to go to the Cayman Islands and get a heart bypass done and have a two-week beach holiday and come back at perhaps less than 50 percent of the cost," he said.
The average cost for a heart bypass is $144,000 in the United States, five times higher than neighboring Mexico at $27,000. Costa Rica charges $25,000 and Colombia $14,800 for the same procedure, the Medical Tourist Association said. Even with the higher cost of doing business in the Cayman Islands, Shetty estimates a heart bypass will cost less than $10,000.

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