A Guide To Healthcare System In The Cayman Islands part 2 – Part one is here.
Healthcare Systems in the Cayman Islands
One of the most common questions to businessmen and women is “What are the healthcare system options in the Cayman Islands?” understandably because this question directly affects their workforce.
There are many health systems in the Cayman Islands. Some are public, and others are private. They include; two private health insurance companies – Direct Medical Insurance Company (DMIC) and Cayman National Insurance Company (CNIC).
Others include the publicly funded health services – the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (CIHSA), which operates a private clinic; Queen Elizabeth Hospital; and public clinics. I will write about each system below.
This is a government agency. It provides free medical and dental care at its hospital and its clinics. It offers services that include accident and emergency care (ER), outpatient, antenatal, x-rays, laboratory tests, family planning services; minor surgery; patient transport; community nursing; home help; diabetic nurse visits; physical therapy/occupational therapy; speech therapy; counseling services, child health service for children under five years of age.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
This is a public hospital built in the 1950s and takes all emergency cases. The government has plans to upgrade it to handle less serious medical cases as well. The hospital staffs are highly trained, but the equipment they have maybe outdated. It is also not easy for non-locals to access the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Direct Medical Insurance Company (DMIC)
DMIC is partnered with Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) to provide healthcare services. Out of all the five systems, it is the only health insurance company that offers clinics in the Cayman Islands. It provides full coverage for outpatients and partial coverage for inpatients. All clients must be approved prior to receiving benefits.
Cayman National Insurance Company (CNIC)
CNIC provides medical care for Caymanians and residents of the country only. Similar to DMIC, it is partnered with HMO. It covers full coverage for outpatients and partial coverage for inpatients. CNIC, too requires prior approval before providing benefits.
Cayman Islands government runs public health care clinics for locals and residents of the country. These include; George Town, Bodden Town, West Bay, North Side (East End), East End, and Sister Islands. The healthcare services in these clinics are not very good, but they can provide some basic medication such as painkillers and antibiotics.
Factors Affecting Cayman Islands Healthcare Systems
The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. Healthcare is provided at no cost to residents and visitors by The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (CIHSA). Important factors influencing healthcare systems include government, population size, economy, culture, life expectancy, etc. In this section, we will look at several factors affecting healthcare systems in the Cayman Islands.
The population of The Cayman Islands is approximately more than 60,792 people. This includes over 14,402 residents and 56,390 non-residents (those who live outside the Cayman Islands). As a result of having relatively few permanent residents, there are chronic shortages of health service providers. This means that many healthcare services are understaffed, and waiting times for appointments can be long.
The Cayman Islands is a wealthy country; in fact, by some accounts, it is the wealthiest country in the world per capita. The high GDP per capita of US$80,937 makes it one of the highest in the world for this measure. With such a high GDP per capita, there is considerable wealth in the country and therefore, considerable resources available to health service providers.
This leads to increased availability of up-to-date equipment and improved healthcare infrastructure. However, despite the relative wealth of The Cayman Islands, they do face budget constraints when it comes to healthcare that many other countries do not. This leads to the prioritization of spending in certain areas over others.
For example, The Cayman Islands has much lower cancer rates than the USA, despite having almost identical life expectancies. This is because much less funding goes towards cancer prevention than cancer treatment.
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. The Queen appoints a Governor to represent her and deliver executive power, while the elected House of Assembly (Legislative) has control over legislation and taxation.
The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (CIHSA), which runs healthcare in the country, was established in 1977 under an Act of Parliament, the Health Services Authority Act. In essence, this means that healthcare infrastructure and policy are formed by a system of checks and balances between three separate branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial.
The culture of The Cayman Islands is a blend of British and Caribbean cultures. It is influenced heavily by a strong British influence in language, food, and customs. The Cayman Islands is a predominantly Christian country with the major denominations being Anglican, Church of God, Baptist, and Roman Catholic.
The religious make-up of The Cayman Islands differs considerably from the USA, which has a much higher percentage of people with no religious affiliation. This can be seen in healthcare policies; for instance, there are currently no laws requiring vaccination of children attending school.
Due to having British influence and being an Anglican majority country, The Cayman Islands has a strong connection with the UK and, therefore, many immigrants from the European Union (EU) and beyond. This can cause healthcare systems to be overwhelmed in peak seasons, such as Christmas and other public holidays when EU citizens vacation in their home country. This contributes to long wait times for appointments.
The life expectancy at birth in The Cayman Islands is approximately 79.2 years of age, notably higher than in the USA (78.8 years). The factors that contribute to such long life expectancy are likely due to a combination of healthy lifestyle choices and effective healthcare infrastructure.
For example, there is a very high availability of clean drinking water and safe food sources. This reduces the risk of contracting diseases spread through water and food, such as cholera. The Cayman Islands has low rates of obesity (lower than in the USA), which means less chance of heart disease due to diet choices.
Additionally, in The Cayman Islands, there is an anti-smoking culture applied largely across all age groups. However, life expectancy in the USA is influenced heavily by factors such as poverty and income. This means that there are more deaths from diseases related to lack of access to health care (such as diabetes) and higher rates of obesity and smoking.
The Cayman Islands has a different healthcare system from the USA: it is funded largely through taxation rather than private insurance. This makes the government responsible for providing healthcare to citizens and is a source of debate within society as to whether or not it should cover all costs or just some.