Eight years ago, I blogged about the plan to develop Dubai Healthcare City (DHC) as a major node in a global healthcare network (see: Dubai Healthcare City as a Global Healthcare Node). DHC was designed to support medical tourism for affluent consumers around the world who were unable to obtain quality care in their home countries. The global recession starting in 2008 took some of the sheen off this project but it now seems to be back on track. Of interest is that the Mayo Clinic and Rochester, Minnesota, are now seeking to pursue a similar model (see: THE $6.5 BILLION, 20-YEAR PLAN TO TRANSFORM AN AMERICAN CITY) as a Destination Medical Center (DMC). Below is an excerpt from an article discussing this plan:
One of the world’s best-known hospitals has a problem.The Mayo Clinic is located in the small city of Rochester (pop. 111,000), about a two-hour drive from Minneapolis, Minnesota. And it is, right this minute, competing fiercely for a small-but-extremely-lucrative slice of the global medical tourism industry. The wealthy American, European, east Asian, and Gulf Arab patients who have been the clinic’s bread and butter have been instead choosing to get treatment abroad or at domestic rivals like Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University or the Cleveland Clinic. But that may be changing—and the reason, if not the construction, is simple: the Destination Medical Center.That's an audacious 20-year plan by Rochester, the Minnesota state government, the Mayo Clinic, and their private partners to spend more than $6.5 billion on a kind of real-life version of SimCity, designed to turn Rochester into a global biotech hub, and double its population in the process.
At a contentious city council meeting this past March, Rochester approved a plan to build the DMC. The project, a public-private partnership between Rochester, the Mayo Clinic, the state of Minnesota, county governments, and the private sector, would effectively remake all of Rochester in the Mayo Clinic’s image. Downtown would be rejuvenated and made more cold-weather friendly, while the Mayo Clinic would welcome gleaming new facilities. Vast plots of land would be used for fresh office space for biotech and pharmaceutical firms, local schools would get a cash injection, and development of amenities like hip restaurants and upscale shops would be subsidized by local and state government to attract out-of-town talent and medical tourists. There are even plans for a rail link to the city of Minneapolis, approximately 90 miles away.
Read the whole article if you are interested. It's seems like a good plan to me. Mayo has a long-standing reputation as a superb healthcare referral center. Cleveland Clinic is pursuing a similar model although perhaps not in as formal a way as Mayo. The planned rail link to Minneapolis seems like a good idea to foster more efficient travel to Rochester. Cleveland Clinic has the advantage of its close proximity to Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Art Museum. It has also funded the HealthLine, a bus-rapid transit (BRT) line between the hospital complex and downtown Cleveland with its popular entertainment choices like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The term DMC was apparently coined specifically for the Mayo/Rochester partnership although it has a generic ring. Here are key elements of the overarching strategy copied from its web site:
- Nearly $6 billion in private investment in the market, realizing approximately $10 to $1 in private to public investment.
- A public investment proposal of $585 million from State and local jurisdictions.
- The investment is not an upfront payment but instead structured over a 20 year period.
- NONE of the public dollars will be used to pay for Mayo buildings and/or programs.