Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The nation already has one of the largest health care manufacturing clusters in the Caribbean and Central American region.

The government of the Dominican Republic has shown deep interest in developing the National Health System in both the private and public sectors, as demonstrated by the new legislation from the president, Danilo Medinas, proposed to Congress to enact national health reform that could give rise to new business opportunities for U.S. companies, particularly those in the Wisconsin’s health care sector.

The Dominican health care system comprises two sub sectors, the public subsector (insurance and provider institutions of nonprofits and for-profit services, governed by the General Health Law) and the private subsector (nonprofits and for-profit). The Ministry of Health provides leadership for the system and provides services to 75 percent of the population, most of which are uninsured (care is free but without any guarantee of access or quality). The private sector provides services mostly to the upper class. Most doctors are bilingual and have received specialized training in the U.S. or European countries.

The Dominican Republic is home to operations for various leading medical technology companies, which have chosen the country as a base for developing, manufacturing and marketing a wide range of medical products, forming one of the largest clusters in health care manufacturing in the Caribbean and Central American region. Moreover, the medical device industry represents 6 percent of free zone exports ($286 million), with the U.S. as the main destination. This industry consists approximately 9,000 skilled workers who are renowned for their superior work ethic and ability to meet the quality demands of the industry.