Above: a HIMA hospital in Puerto Rico
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The British Virgin Islands is looking to Puerto Rico broaden the range of health care services delivered in the territory, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Development.
Health Minister Ronnie Skelton recently met with officials from Puerto Rico-based Grupo HIMA San Pablo to explore the possibility of a partnership arrangement that would lead to the company establishing satellite operations in BVI.
“We welcome this opportunity to partner with the private sector to procure specialist health care services that are safe, effective, patient-centred and of high quality,” said Skelton, who was joined at the meeting by Permanent Secretary Petrona Davies.
According to the proposal, HIMA would provide specialist services to the British Virgin Islands in partnership with the BVI Health Services Authority.
Skelton cautioned that an agreement would ensure that local health care improved as well.
“Any partnership agreement must ensure that we build local capacity to allow our health services to meet the basic needs of the population well into the future,” he said.
HIMA Health is a service provided by Group HIMA San Pablo, which is a group of privately-funded hospitals that cater to Caribbean and American patients.
“These talks are building on our long-term association with the HIMA over several years,” Davies said.
The Permanent Secretary said BVI had asked HIMA to present a full proposal.
“Over the long term, such partnerships will help position the Virgin Islands as a medical tourism destination,” Skelton said.