Mayo Clinic, a Minnesota-born institution known for attracting patients from the Middle East and around the world, is entering a joint venture that will run a new “mega-hospital” in the United Arab Emirates.
The Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, a four-tower medical campus in the UAE capital city of Abu Dhabi, will formally open in early 2020 operated by a for-profit joint venture in which Mayo Clinic is becoming a shareholder, Mayo officials announced Sunday morning. Mayo officials said the long-term goal is to have the hospital project grow into a Mayo-caliber center of expertise and capabilities in complex care and diagnostic medicine.
“This is a collaboration and unique partnership in the region, with Mayo Clinic physicians, nurses, administrators and others working side by side with colleagues from [the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company],” Mayo CEO Dr. Gianrico Farrugia said Sunday in an announcement about the joint venture.
Financial details were not disclosed between the not-for-profit Mayo Clinic and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, a private entity that goes by the acronym SEHA. Mayo said it will invest proceeds from the venture into practice, education and research. SEHA operates a dozen government-owned hospitals across the Arabian Peninsula nation, of which Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) is the largest.
Much of Mayo’s investment in the project consists of the knowledge and expertise it is sharing, and any revenue realized by Mayo in the joint venture will flow to the not-for-profit Mayo Clinic Foundation.
“We have a vision to create the fully integrated Mayo Clinic model of care with SEHA over the course of the next decade,” Roshanak Didehban, chairwoman of practice administration at Mayo Clinic, said in an interview.
“We believe that being able to deliver on the full Mayo model of care, including the integrated practice and the expertise of all specialties, focused on the needs of the patient, is something that will take the next decade for us to create.”
The new hospital campus in the United Arab Emirates is already a decade in the making. Mayo Clinic has been working with SEHA to open the new hospital campus under a development agreement, but the decision to formally enter a joint venture to operate it only happened after the two organizations grew comfortable with each other over time.
Billed as Abu Dhabi’s new “mega-hospital” by media outlet the National, the SSMC admitted its first patients earlier this month. All inpatient departments are expected to be open in early 2020.
The hospital is designed to hold 741 licensed beds across 3.2 million square feet of floor space, including four patient towers and amenities such as rooftop gardens. The hospital includes robotic surgery suites and 132 beds for intensive-care patients.
By comparison, Mayo’s St. Marys Campus in Rochester has 1,265 beds.
The Abu Dhabi hospital will be staffed by 2,240 clinicians, including 440 physicians and 1,800 nurses, mainly drawn from the local market. With its clinicians’ expertise and a mandate to provide complex care, the SSMC will offer services like advanced burn treatment — making it the first center in the UAE to offer that specialty — along with head and neck cancer therapy, orthopedic and thoracic surgery, vascular procedures and many others.
The project also includes a new medical-research center.
The goal is to shape SSMC into the main clinical research and teaching hospital in the UAE, Mayo and SEHA said, and have it evolve into the premier destination for medical care in the Middle East in the next decade.
Didehban said that although the hospital campus is large and technologically advanced, the aspect of the project that is most “special” is the two organizations’ shared vision for patient care and the mutual goal to transform SSMC into a destination center.
“Mayo and SEHA have shared values — that the needs of the patient come first, the importance of putting the patient at the center, and ensuring that the highest quality of care is delivered,” Didehban said.
“Over the course of the next decade, we plan to partner with SEHA to move this organization into an international destination for patients who have serious or complex medical needs.”