Hospital waives aggressive debt collection

Ronnie Dunn

(CNS): HSA Deputy Chief Executive Ronnie Dunn has confirmed that although the Health Services Authority has retained the services of a debt collector, he has been instructed not to act aggressively against those who struggle. Although the problem of bad debts has not gone away, the HSA writes off much less now than in the past and there have been improvements in efficiency and service delivery, which has increased revenue. Therefore, the need to extract money from those who can least afford it is not a priority.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Dunn said the government is wary of being too aggressive in pressuring those struggling with insurance coverage. He said debt collectors have been told to limit who they sue, focusing on debts they are likely to collect, such as those incurred by cruise ship patients.

“We need to stay viable, but we can’t be naïve to fiscal realities,” he said, noting that many people here still don’t have adequate coverage for the care they need.

The cost of healthcare is rising everywhere, including in the Cayman Islands, where last year’s consumer price index showed it rose by around 12%. However, Dunn said the HSA is well aware that the cost of health care is a significant issue for people and is working to reduce it.

He said they were working to close supply gaps on the islands and facilitate access for all by investing in infrastructure and services and reducing operating costs.

This year, the hospital embarked on major investments in approximately 35 critical infrastructure projects of varying scope and complexity with a budget of C$8 million, the largest investment since the HSA’s inception in 2002. This covers a wide range of new services, from providing a dialysis service at the West Bay Clinic to a new ambulance center in Bodden Town.

As well as replacing the fleet, the new EMS base was desperately needed, not only to cope with increasing calls from a growing population, but to help reduce response times, which were significantly affected by traffic congestion.

Dunn said the solar panel project at the George Town Hospital site was expected to reduce HSA’s electricity bill by at least $360,000 a year, the equivalent of five new nurses. And that was before energy costs skyrocketed, so even bigger savings are now expected. There are also plans to extend the deployment of solar panels to other parts of the estate, including a covered car park.

The deputy chief executive said the hospital had now found a way to ensure the money it had was going where it was needed and balancing investments in the right places, while helping to lower the cost of healthcare. health.

HSA Board Chairman Osbourne Bodden noted the government hospital’s strategic vision for the next few years and explained how the main objective was to ensure the hospital was not in competition with the private sector but filled the gaps in the provisions.

“After decades of cash flow challenges that have prevented needed investments, HSA has embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development program in 2021 to ensure that our world-class healthcare workforce has world-class facilities to continue to provide state-of-the-art care,” he said.

“We have made and will continue to make significant investments in new infrastructure and capabilities that will position the HSA to improve access to care and the health of our people,” Bodden said.

He said the evidence that the HSA had been successful in improving the patient and family experience was in the redesigned Patient Experience Survey, independently measured by an international agency. Bodden said of the 21,439 people surveyed in 2021, 83.5% rated the quality of care positively, with most saying it was excellent.

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John A. Bogar