Health care costs are creating one of the biggest financial headaches for countries worldwide, with the amount people are spending on health care rising faster than incomes in most developed countries.
This raises the question as to how countries will pay for their future health care needs.
The problem is particularly evident in the United States, which not only spends much more per capita on health care, but also has had one of the highest spending growth rates. And with much of Cayman’s health care provided for either directly or indirectly from the US, this means spiralling costs for the Cayman Islands as well.
This year’s Health Care 20/20 conference, which takes place from 17-19 November at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, will be examining this very issue.
In particular, the conference will be seeking to find solutions for reducing costs and maintaining a sustainable system in Cayman, with a conference theme “Health Care Economics: the search for quality and affordability”. International speakers will join local healthcare professionals in offering a well-rounded set of thought-provoking discussions, looking at the issue of health care economics from many different perspectives.
At a Health Care Thought Leaders Forum held earlier this year, which followed on from last year’s Health Care 20/20 conference, Cayman’s Health Minister Mark Scotland explained just how much money was allocated to health care by the Government: “Here in Cayman, during our last financial year [2009/2010] $93.4 million was spent on health care costs, which represents 17.5 per cent of our national budget. Of this amount, 16 per cent was spent on overseas referrals for a segment of the population of 2,500 persons, representing our seafarers and indigent population.”
Dr. Edward Cabrera, chief medical officer of KePRO also spoke at the forum and detailed spiralling health care costs in the US, in particular those associated with chronic disease.
Obvious costs, he said, included medical care, hospitalisation, pharmacy and medical costs, while less obvious costs included absenteeism, turnover issues, product quality, training, administration and long and short term disability costs.
He added: “These costs are driven rapidly upwards by increasing public demand, rising insurance costs, specialist technology, expensive research and development cycles that increasingly seek quick turn-around. Additionally, other factors driving higher overseas costs are new costlier procedures, medical inflation in the United States, new and costly pharmaceutical drugs, physician practice patterns leading to more tests and prescribing more drugs and an aging population.”
The Cayman Islands Government, and in particular the Health Ministry, which is a premium sponsor of the event, is keen to ensure that everyone in the community gets behind the notion that reforming the health care system in Cayman is everyone’s responsibility.
At a press conference held in September to launch the 20/20 Health Care event, Minister Scotland said:
“I must stress that the Ministry cannot work on this project in a vacuum. Everyone has to be involved to ensure a system that will truly work to benefit all the participants, whether they are giving care, receiving care or arranging to pay for care.”
The minister went on to say that he was pleased to see representatives from the business community, private and public health facilities and the Medical and Dental Society at the conference launch, thereby showing their commitment to the process.
Cayman’s Health Care 20/20 Conference will therefore take a holistic approach, looking at ways to create a successful and sustainable health care system that will involve all the stakeholder groups - the medical community, the Health Ministry, the insurance companies, employers, the public and patients.
Spread over three days, the conference will be packed with discussion segments that will examine each of these issues in detail, as well as offering a broad view of how other developed countries have successfully dealt with health care costs.
Keith Allred, president and managing partner with HB Strategy Group will be talking about conflict resolution and change management, key issues if the Cayman Islands is to embrace a new era of health care practices. An employee health case study will be presented by Tami Hutchison who is the vice president and general manager, Employer Services, for Cerner, while the patient perspective and the role of the patient in reducing health care costs will be analysed by a panel of experts.
Brent James, chief quality officer and executive director for the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research at Intermountain Health Care will be discussing the impact of over utilisation. Mr. James is known internationally for his work in clinical quality improvement, patient safety, and the infrastructure that underlies successful improvement efforts, such as culture change, data systems, payment methods, and management roles.
Reducing cost by reducing waste will be another vital topic up for discussion and will be presented by Cindy Jimmerson, who is the founder and president of Lean Health Care West, a corporation composed of expert health care and industry professionals. Lean Healthcare West offers education in and implementation of Lean principles in hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities, other health care facilities, physician office practices, community health care programs, and health care insurance companies.
Organisers encourage the business community, the public and private health care practitioners, from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and health insurance professionals to attend and find out how everyone in Cayman can be part of the solution to establishing a stable and sustainable health care system for all in the Cayman Islands.
At the 20/20 Health care launch, Mr. Scotland said that this year’s conference will pick up where it left off last year in the process that will lead the Cayman Islands to “a sustainable and equitable model of health care for all of us in Cayman Islands, one that can be envied worldwide”.
Please visit the conference website at www.healthcareconference.ky for more information, and to register.
Premium sponsors for the conference are: the Cayman Islands Government’s Ministry of Health, the Health Services Authority, Tower Marketing, International Health Solutions by Tenet Healthcare Corporation, BritCay and Advanced Integrated Systems.
This is part of Compass Point - Healthcare. Please click here for more stories on this topic.