One day last week, I worked on this piece attempting to explain the complicated approval process in Cuba. I saw myself a change-agent in Cuba's healthcare future, as well as our own.
I did mention in my original post is that Cuba is different. Everything is government owned; meaning no billboards, Ads on TV, or competitive gas pricing. That’s why we started at the Ministry of Health in Cuba, where I tearfully pleaded our case to a panel of representatives, who promised their immediate consideration. Before we adjourned, I was asked to explain the function of the AMA. Afterwards, we were guided to contacts next in the hierarchy.
The Medical Conference we are attending was announced November 2014, by Havana Tours,(the appointed Government Agency that handles ALL U.S. Citizens in Cuba - due to the embargo).
At that time, no one would have imagined 50 doctors from the U.S. wanting to come to Cuba for a Conference, let alone compliance to AMA requirements, including signed statements for CME credits. It’s a process.
Although we await signatures, everything else about the Conference has been confirmed. We have 50 rooms blocked in Varadero during the conference, as well as our days in Havana and Cienfuegos; Lucky for us, because rooms are sold-out all over Cuba until after April, 2016. Our rooms may have disappeared, if not for MariCarmen Sicard, owner of Marimar Travel & Tours, a legendary agency with established contacts in Cuba for the last 18 years.
I thought the last thing I did was publish my draft that night. Instead, I sent my words and thoughts out to orbit in never-never land. If I had kept a diary.doc I would have been covered, but you learn from your mistakes.
Meanwhile, we await the signed CME agreements. I see time running short again, and our frustration is exacerbated by the lack of a proper internet highway, expensive phone connections, and no postal services. It’s hard to believe, but then, I’ve been to Cuba.
I’ve also witnessed firsthand, brilliant, last minute finishes - with a flourish. I have a great deal of faith in the Cuban people, and I continue to believe that the organizers will come through. MariCarmen, will be back in Cuba in a couple of weeks, so until I hear a “No, there’s no reason not to continue to book the trip and think positive.
Once the U.S. clears the brush, and we learn to trust each other- we'll face a new day, and find a new way.
Meanwhile, our subscribers are getting an email, asking if the trip still interests them - without pre-approved CME credit.
According to the AMA, ALL CME CREDITS MUST BE APPROVED BEFORE the trip departs, so that’s that.
No doubt this is only the beginning of a life changing Medical Adventure.