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US$170m medical tourism facility for St James

Published:Thursday | February 14, 2013 | 4:45 PM

By Avia Collinder

Business Writer

Investment promotions agency, JAMPRO, has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with American Global MD (AGMD) for the country’s first ‘five-star’ medical tourism facility valued at US$170 million.

John Marcocchio, the local project manager and director of Implementation Limited, said Thursday that the project is likely to break ground in 12 to 18 months after design is completed and construction approvals have been received.

Under the first phase of the project, a 50-75 bed facility will be constructed to offer plastic and cosmetic surgery, bariatric services and dental specialties.

Marcocchio said that the facility will be located within the elegant corridor in the parish of St James but said the site is yet to be selected.

“We have it do the design development process and submission for building permission. In Jamaica that can take anywhere up to 18 months, the project manager said.

The deal took one year to put together, he said.

AGMD is a consortium of American-trained physicians and investors, all of whom have Jamaican links as a result of having previously studied or practiced in the country.

“Under the MOU, AGMD will build a fully ‘amenitised’ 200-bed hospital and medical facility that will target the North American and Caribbean markets. The investment upon completion will provide employment opportunities for Jamaican doctors, nurses and other medical related personnel, delivering services ranging from elective surgeries, rehabilitation and naturopathy,” Jampro said in a release on the development on Thursday.

Jampro notes that the Government’s Health & Wellness Tourism Policy that was informed by a cross-ministerial team, seeks to lay out the framework for positioning Jamaica as the newest destination for medical and wellness tourism.

“These efforts were set in train by a comprehensive Jampro-led study of the industry’s potential that was completed in 2011, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Most recently, Cabinet has approved the mechanism for the development of the medical tourism industry and will be establishing a steering committee with major industry stakeholders to guide the finalization of the policy and regulatory framework,” the agency said.

Globally, the medical tourism industry was valued at over US$40 billion in 2010, with major markets in the industry generating over 1.5 million medical tourists, the investment agency said.

Implementation Limited, which specialises in project management, operates offices in Kingston and Ocho Rios.

“I met American Global when they were seeking a Caribbean location. With the assistance of JAMPRO the doctors decided to do the project in Jamaica,” said Marcocchio, who is Jamaican.