St. Joseph Mercy Hospital dealing with influx of Cubans

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The St. Joseph Mercy Hospital says its staff has been “at the top of their game dealing with an unprecedented influx of Cubans.”

The increase number of Cubans to the medical facility has to do with the fact that the private city hospital is the only medical institution which has two doctors approved by the U.S. Embassy to conduct the medical tests and issue the medical reports required for processing of U.S. visa applications.

Effective April 1, 2018, the US State Department announced that US Embassy in Georgetown, Guyana will be the primary site for processing immigrant visa applications for Cubans.

The decision was made shortly after the US removed its personnel from its Embassy in Havana, Cuba due to mysterious attacks on the health of 24 diplomats and relatives on the island.

In a statement on Saturday, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Enoch Gaskin was quoted as saying that the increase is not without its challenges as the hospital has had to include Spanish signage around its building and compound to guide the new clients.

He also assured that the foreign clients are not given any special treatment.

“If there are any perceptions that the Cubans are getting special treatment or that the hospital has to do something different for Cubans, the answer is no. But we do recognise that our signage has to be bi-lingual because every day … a significant clientele who pass through speak Spanish,” the CEO explained in the statement.

To maintain its relationship with the US embassy, Gaskin said the US officials conducted a comprehensive annual audit of the hospital.

Mr. Gaskin said the number of Cubans persons see at the hospital is often not an accurate reflection of the numbers actually there for their medical screening because families or individuals are often accompanied by others who are not seeking any service at the hospital.

The statement disclosed that a large number of Cubans gather at the facility in the mornings but the hospital has the capacity to deal with the clients and therefore complete their transactions by midday –a testimony that it is handling the situation “quite well”.

“There is no distinction in what is done for any population…it’s the same board physician…same lab test, everything is the same,” he said, adding, “What is new is that we have a significant group of people doing these tests from a different culture…”

According to the statement, Mr. Gaskin noted that the standard policy of the hospital’s staff—above and beyond everything— is to maintain sustained, high-quality professional service for everyone who seeks their intervention.

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