Private hospital Andrews Memorial Hospital is expanding its bed capacity by two-thirds, a project to be led by new CEO Donmayne Gyles.
The expansion plans include a fifth operating theatre, 40 new beds which will grow capacity to 100 beds, a new dialysis centre, and a partnership for kidney transplant surgery.
The cost of the capital programme was not disclosed, by the hospital which is operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Andrews Memorial’s healthcare services include radiology, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, a vegetarian cafeteria, a dental unit, a corporate health facility, inpatient and outpatient care and, surgical procedures.
Kidney dialysis will become a new offering under the expansion programme.
Gyles succeed long-serving hospital head Dr Patric Rutherford as president and CEO on April 1. he was formerly the hospital’s chief financial officer.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness said the upgrade would rank Andrews Memorial among the smaller community hospitals.
“The larger hospitals are 400 to 500 beds; and the smaller ones are 100 to 250 beds. If the expansion takes them to 100 they will be ranked in the lower quartile of community hospitals,” said Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton.
The minister welcomed the Andrews Memorial plan as “a good thing”, saying there was “excess capacity in the private space”. Its that deficiency why the Jamaican government is seeking to increase the number of public-private agreements for patient care, he said.
Jamaica has 24 hospitals, one of the primary one among them being the University Hospital of the West Indies.
Among Andrews Memorial’s plan is the reopening of its “high-dependency unit” later this year, which Gyles has said is to be transformed into “a fully functional intensive care unit” within two years.
“We have already recruited key specialist nurses for this service and are in discussions with other stakeholders to facilitate its successful and sustainable future,” he said.
The hospital will also start offering MRI services by July, the new head said, and Andrews will also soon commission a catheterisation laboratory and engage cardiologists to help with the roll-out of the cardiac programme.
The MRI and cath lab were reportedly donated by AdventHealth, formerly Florida Hospital.
Andrews Memorial also has a research partnership with Loma Linda University Health, which includes raising funds for purchasing new of lab equipment.
Loma Linda recently donated a microscan machine to the Kingston-based hospital for faster processing of microbiology samples, and will provide technical assistance for restructuring the layout and workflow of the lab’s physical plant and guidance on further accreditation.
Andrews, now a 79-year-old institution, is part of the Adventist Healthcare Services Inter-America network.
“I am a big believer in public private partnerships,” said Tufton.
“That’s why we have been outsourcing diagnostics. Because of the shortage of equipment in the public sector, we do outsource blocks of chronically ill patients for private doctors and it’s why we put Drug Serv windows in private pharmacies for wider reach. From a public-private perspective, the missions that come into to do kidney transplants are appreciated.”
Noting that public health cannot survive on its own, Tufton said the key is to guard against profiteering and to ensure that the public isn’t paying out more for healthcare than they are receiving in value.
He is in favour of “price discrimination”, where healthcare facilities “favour those who can least afford it, and have those who can better afford it provide a subsidy.”