Mother Theresa’s Physician Opens Low-Cost Model for U.S. Healthcare – in the Caribbean

The man the Wall Street Journal calls “the Henry Ford of surgery” opens Cayman Islands hospital based on Indian health system renowned for low costs and high quality; U.S.-based Ascension supporting

CAYMAN ISLANDS – November 13, 2014 — Famed heart surgeon Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Mother Teresa’s personal physician and founder of Narayana Health – an Indian hospital network that is internationally regarded as one of the world’s lowest-cost, highest-quality healthcare providers—is bringing his mission of providing affordable, accessible healthcare to America.

Dr. Shetty and his Narayana Health team perform thousands of heart surgeries per year in India for as little as USD $1,400 per case, or just 2 percent of the average cost of heart surgery in the U.S. Now Dr. Shetty’s model has moved outside of India for the first time with the establishment of Health City Cayman Islands, a new high-tech hospital in the Caribbean that is a joint venture between Narayana Health and Ascension, the largest non-profit and Catholic healthcare system in the United States.

As featured in a new documentary film, “From the Heart: Healthcare Transformation from India to the Cayman Islands,” the facility located just 90 minutes by air from Miami expects to expand from 108 beds to 2,000 beds to meet demand for its services from within the Caribbean and the U.S.

U.S. Healthcare Providers Watching Carefully

U.S. health systems—many struggling to remain profitable in the face of razor-thin margins and declining reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid and commercial healthcare insurance—are taking note.

“Health City Cayman Islands has brought a new and needed level of healthcare services to the Cayman Islands to serve not only the residents of the island nation, but also those from the greater Caribbean region and beyond,” said Ascension President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE. “While Ascension has its own long history of providing safe, clinically excellent, high-quality care, we also recognize the tremendous opportunity this partnership provides us to learn new ways of caring for the people we serve.”

Robert Pearl, MD, CEO of the (Kaiser) Permanente Medical Group, the largest U.S. medical group, wrote recently in Forbes that Health City Cayman Islands “has American health care providers watching closely, and anxiously.”  Dr. Pearl concluded that “the operational approaches in Dr. Shetty’s hospital are about 10 years ahead of those used in the typical U.S. hospital.”

Narayana’s secret is a laser focus on efficiency, enabled by high volume. All providers are employees and they are all focused on productivity, improving processes and speeding patient throughput. With high volume comes pricing power, and Narayana has taken an aggressive approach to every component in the supply chain with the goal of eventually providing basic heart surgery for $800 per patient.

“Innovators like Toyota and Amazon consistently disrupt the leading organizations in their markets, and that’s what Health City is doing,” said Dale Sanders, former chief information officer of the National Health System of the Cayman Islands, now a senior executive of Health Catalyst, a Salt Lake City-based healthcare IT company. “Anyone that doesn’t believe that healthcare is being disrupted outside the boundaries of the U.S. is not watching what’s happening in India. If you don’t believe that’s happening, you’re going to miss out on the opportunity to participate in this next wave and you may become disrupted yourself.”

Clear Pricing + Data + Process

Health City’s innovations begin at the ground level. Construction of the current 108 -bed facility took less than 12 months and cost USD $420,000 per bed, about one-third the U.S. average of $1.5 million to $2 million, despite the relatively high cost of real estate in the Cayman Islands.

Real-time performance metrics are constantly available for administrators across the medical center. Analytics technology called iKare monitors lab results and clinical findings to predict potentially significant medical problems. Clinical teams are timed on their speed of response, with a particular focus on eliminating delays in treatment.  Narayana Hospitals’ average time to an appropriate response is just seven minutes, significantly less than the average U.S. hospital.

Eschewing the profit-center approach of U.S. hospitals, in which key departments such as the operating room bill patients separately, Health City has only one profit center – the hospital. That arrangement aligns incentives to cut cost from every process. And to further simplify costs, the medical center provides an all-inclusive flat rate for every procedure covering every service.

“We’re one of the few hospitals in the world to publish our prices as a bundled flat rate,” said Chandy Abraham, MD, Health City’s Facility and Medical Director. “And that’s what you’ll pay, nothing more. You get one bill and you’ll never get another bill. It’s a model that gets a lot of attention when we talk with other healthcare providers.”

“Henry Ford proved that the commoditization of a product makes it cheaper, makes it better and makes it more efficient,” said Dr. Shetty. “I strongly believe that we have to commoditize the delivery of healthcare, and that is the model that we represent for the world.”

Multi-Media and Broll

Broadcast-quality Broll video of Dr. Shetty and Health City Cayman Islands can be found at

Photos and additional material can be found at

The full 29-minute documentary, “From the Heart: Healthcare Transformation from India to the Cayman Islands,” can be viewed at

About Narayana Health

Narayana Health is among India’s largest healthcare service providers and also one of the world’s most economical. From a humble beginning of a 225-bed hospital in 2001, Narayana Health group of hospitals has grown to become a 6,900-bed healthcare conglomeratewith 26 hospitals across 16 cities in India and a hospital in the Caribbean at Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Accessibility strengthens as Narayana Health relentlessly continues to expand. For more information

About Health City Cayman Islands

Health City Cayman Islands, the vision of famed heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty, is supported by two major healthcare organizations, Narayana Health and the U.S.-based Ascension, and the Cayman Islands government. The facility provides compassionate, high-quality, affordable healthcare services for all in a world-class, comfortable, patient-centered environment. Offering healthcare to international, regional and local patients, Health City Cayman Islands delivers excellence in adult and pediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery, medical oncology, orthopedics, pediatric endocrinology, endocrinology, and pulmonology. For further information, visit

About Ascension

Ascension ( is a Catholic healthcare organization dedicated to the transformation of healthcare through excellent clinical care throughout the continuum of care and through innovation. Ascension is the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system, providing the highest quality care to all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Last year Ascension provided $1.8 billion in care of persons living in poverty and community benefit programs. Its Mission-focused Health Ministries employ 153,000 associates serving in more than 1,900 sites of care in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Ascension’s direct subsidiaries provide services that include healthcare delivery, medical equipment management, treasury management, resource and supply management, venture capital investing, physician practice management, and risk management.

About Health Catalyst

Health Catalyst is a mission-driven data warehousing and analytics company that helps healthcare organizations of all sizes perform the clinical, financial, and operational reporting and analysis needed for population health and accountable care. Our proven enterprise data warehouse (EDW) and analytics platform help improve quality, add efficiency and lower costs in support of more than 30 million patients for organizations ranging from the largest U.S. health system to forward-thinking physician practices. Faster and more agile than data warehouses from other industries, the Health Catalyst Late-Binding EDW has been heralded by KLAS as a “newer and more effective way to approach EDW.” For more information, visit, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.