Healthcare - Riyadh, KSA: Maybe not so different from the U.S.

Descriptive characteristics:

  1. Much of healthcare delivery is controlled by the Ministry of health (MOH). Saudi Nationals are provided healthcare by the MOH.
  2. Non-Saudi’s working in the KSA must be provided health insurance coverage by their employer.
  3. Upwards of 35% of the population of Riyadh are non-Saudi Nationals.
  4. The MOH is very sensitive to the care provided to Saudi Nationals; especially access to care and such events as premature discharges from hospitals.
  5. Upwards of 25% of Saudi’s are hypertensive and it is projected that nearly 50% of the population could be diabetic by 2025 due principally to life style issues, including obesity.
  6. Referral care is provided by multiple large, 1000 bed + regional tertiary centers referred to as “medical cities”. These medical cities provide highly sophisticated, subspecialized medical care by referral or access through emergency departments. Discharges from a medical city is challenging as many patients prefer to receive ongoing care following critical care treatments.
  7. Primary care is available from 2100 + regionally – positioned primary care centers. Much of the care is episodic; access for ongoing care for chronic conditions is a challenge. There is little integration or coordination of care with the Medical Cities.
  8. There is a growing private health insurance market and a growing market for private hospitals and related healthcare providers.
  9. Population growth is creating demand for health services that is rapidly outstripping supply.
  10. Much of the nursing support is provided by expatriates, including those from the Philippines.
  11. Post-graduate, specialty education for physicians is limited. Many physician specialists do their training in Europe and Canada.
  12. The city of Riyadh is less than 70 years old. The youngest medical city is about 10 years old. A new one is under construction now.
  13. Health care costs as a percentage of GDP is less than 6% due, in part, to the proportion of revenues derived from oil trade.
  14. Healthcare is considered to be as important corner stone in the foundation of the KSA’s responsibility to the population. Articles on health and health care are prominent in print media daily.
  15. Physicians employed by the medical cities are compensated on the basis of salary.
  16. Rural areas remain under-served according to experts consulted.
  17. Males and females occupy clinical and management positions within the Medical Cities.
Daniel Zismer, Ph.D.2013