(From left) Shomari Scott, marketing director of Health City Cayman Islands; St. Maarten Minister of Health Emil Lee; and SZV's chief customer officer, Parveen Boertje, at a St. Maarten news conference to announce the new direct air service. (237063)
Credit: Contributed

ST. MAARTEN (April 6, 2017)—Caribbean tertiary care hospital Health City Cayman Islands has announced direct charter flights to transport patients from St. Maarten to Grand Cayman for specialized medical treatment.

After an agreement between Health City Cayman Islands and SZV Social & Health Insurances, the government-owned national health insurer in St. Maarten, the weekly flights have been instituted with Cayman Airways utilizing the Saab 340B+, which currently serves the national airline’s Cayman Brac route.

Dr. Chandy Abraham, CEO and head of medical services at Health City Cayman Islands, noted that the agreement is part of the hospital’s expanding reach across its target markets.

“With the agreement with SZV Social & Health Insurances in St. Maarten, Health City Cayman Islands continues to grow our patient numbers and reach new markets to build medical tourism or, as we term it, destination health care in the Cayman Islands,” said Abraham. “We have ongoing operations in a number of Caribbean and Latin American markets, in addition to agreements with self-insured companies in the United States of America, and our dedicated office in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.”

Abraham continued, “International patient numbers continue to grow. Health City Cayman Islands treated international patients from more than 60 countries in 2016. [In three years] we have treated over 25,000 outpatients and close to 3,000 inpatients. 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 & Health Insurances, Health City Cayman Islands will provide tertiary health care to St. Maarten patients who are waiting for treatments that are unavailable in the country.

Emil Lee, minister of Labor, Health and Social Development for St. Maarten, said the new direct air service from Cayman to St. Maarten offers a visa-free travel experience and provides St. Maarten residents with skilled medical personnel and leading edge diagnostic and surgical procedures and techniques, with proven success rates.

He asserted St. Maarten is not just looking for an affordable, accessible and quality partner to whom to send patients. “We are looking for a long-term partner that can assist with St. Maarten’s goal of helping our hospital in its quest for Joint Commission International accreditation,” he said. “So besides a partner to handle medical referrals, we are looking for a long-term partner that can offer administrative and technical support.”

Summing up the new developments, Abraham said, “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.”

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, Health City Cayman Islands and SZV will make a decision on the continuation of the service.