On March 31st the USVI celebrates the 96th Transfer Day. This important event marks when the Danish West Indies ceded what is now the USVI to the United States. People unfamiliar with the US Virgin Islands are confused with how we are 100% part of the United States of America although at the same time we are not included within the union of fifty states.
This difference is an important part of what makes us so special here in the USVI. For many of our visitors from the mainland, the USVI is an exotic distant and wonderful adventure which at the same time is also a safe American destination in a world where an increasing number of foreign countries have potential risk and danger for visiting Americans.
For the estimated 110,000 of our friends and neighbors living here in the USVI, it is good to know that medical healthcare is held to the same high US regulatory standards as you would find throughout the United States.
Until recently, because of our comparatively small population and distance from the mainland, providing healthcare services in the US Virgin Islands was always a challenge and for some specialized medical care; services were considered adequate but basic. Until only a few years ago, for many residents and also visitors, patients requiring care for complex medical conditions such as orthopaedic surgery would often take the expensive and long journey to an Atlanta, Miami or New York hospital where the necessary advanced medical care services were available.
The need for improved advanced medical services here on the islands was also compounded by the more than two million cruise ship passengers who visit the USVI every year. Sick or injured passengers, whose medical condition could not be managed by the ships doctor, have until recently also found that the US mainland was where they needed to go for advanced medical care.
Within the last ten years, medical advances using new techniques and technologies, combined with the pressure caused by reduced insurance reimbursements, has changed the status quo of how medical care is delivered and has created exciting innovation that has enabled more patients to use outpatient services where previously they would have needed a hospital stay.
This trend has helped the USVI improve its ambulatory surgery centers including Comprehensive Orthpaedic Global, which has a purpose built facility that opened in 2012. During construction Dr. Brian Bacot, an orthopaedic surgeon and founder of the Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global, not only experienced all of the usual challenges of constructing an advanced state of the art, medical code compliant accredited surgical facility; he also had to encounter the added cost of importing to the USVI, all of the specialized equipment and specialty technical labor necessary to build it.
The new Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global ambulatory surgery center is a state-of-the-art orthopaedic center. We are an AAAHC accredited ambulatory care center located on the beautiful island of St. Thomas.
From the moment that Dr. Brian Bacot opened the Comprehensive Orthopaedic Global ambulatory surgery center, we have consistently been busy, performing hundreds of medical treatments and surgical procedures every month.
Fewer patients are now travelling to hospitals and surgery centers in Atlanta, Miami and New York and other mainland destinations because of the increased availability of medical services at COG. Anecdotally we are starting to see an unexpected trend here at home with reverse medical tourism as many former island residents are traveling to the USVI for medical care.
Travelling back home for medical treatment is important, as it allows our friends and neighbors to be close to friends and family during their recovery from a medical procedure, and to receive optimal medical care closer to home.