The Puerto Rican medical community will be delivering medical services and care to British Virgin Islands residents through a collaboration agreement struck last week between the HIMA Health group and the BVI’s Health Services Authority, and with the support of the Puerto Rico State Department.
“These are the kinds of agreements that we want signed,” said Secretary of State David Bernier. “Those with immediate effect and benefit to both countries. Our health services, for their quality and high technology, represent an asset that can open many doors in the region.”
Through the agreement, doctors affiliated with the HIMA system will be frequently visiting and providing on-site services to patients in the BVI, in coordination with the Caribbean nation’s medical staff, Bernier said.
Furthermore, participating physicians will establish a medical protocol to follow when caring for patients in the BVI and when having to refer them to HIMA San Pablo hospitals, Bernier explained during a news conference late last week, when he and HIMA executives traveled to Tortola to formalize the agreement.
The initiative is part of HIMA’s medical tourism program, which “is one of the projects that brings us the most satisfaction,” said Armando Rodríguez, executive vice president of Grupo HIMA San Pablo.
“This becomes more evident today as we strike this alliance. Providing medical specialists with vast experience and knowledge of the latest technological advances that distinguish us, will certainly make a difference in the lives of patients in the region,” Rodríguez said.
“For us, what we’re doing is very important because not only will it benefit Puerto Rico by supporting medical tourism is that is being done a lot elsewhere, but we’re also going to deliver the quality medical care have in Puerto Rico to our brothers and sisters in other islands,” he said.
That said, Puerto Rico Tourism Company Executive Director Ingrid Rivera-Rocafort added that medical tourism is an important element to consider when discussing economic development, “because we have world-class hospitals and doctors, and infrastructure that we can maximize, such as new hotels being built or to be constructed near hospitals, so this would benefit not only the medical community but tourism as well.”
Another element that will come into play through the agreement is telemedicine technology, which Bernier said physicians will use to share medical knowledge as needed.
During a second news conference held in Tortola, BVI Health Services Authority Darlene Carty-Baptiste said the first joint clinic will happen this Friday.
“Imagine, no more travelling overseas, no more TSA check points, no more long drives, taxis, and booking of hotels to access medical care. Anyone who seeks hematology/oncology, pulmonary, nephrology, and neurosurgery care can do so right here at Peebles Hospital,” the Virgin Islands News Online quoted her as saying.