HSA eyes financial independence

The Health Services Authority should be financially independent from Government by mid 2009, HSA acting CEO Lizzette Yearwood told the Legislative Assembly Monday.

Ms Yearwood said some of the money would be made up by a 10 per cent across-the-board fee increase for services. Fees will also be introduced for some services that were previously offered free.

Money could also be saved by increasing efficiencies within the authority, she said.

Her statement came after the HSA last week requested an extra $7.7 million from government to cover additional operational losses from the 2006/07 financial year.

The 2006/07 budget had initially forecasted operating losses of $6.5 million but, over the course of the year, this figure more than doubled, blowing out to $14.2 million.

Ms Yearwood told the Legislative Assembly that if the additional $7.7 million equity injection contained in the 06/07 budget was taken into account, the HSA’s projected operating loss for the coming year would be down by $4 million.

However, budget documents put that figure at $3 million. At press time Tuesday, Ms Yearwood could not be reached for comment on the apparent discrepancy.

Ms Yearwood did not state whether the HSA expected to make another request for additional funding through the supplementary budget process.

Earlier, Health Minister Anthony Eden said Government would use the supplementary budget process to provide additional funding where required.

Some of the supplementary funding provided for the 2006/07 financial year included bills that went back to 2004, he said.

Later in the session, opposition MLA Rolston Anglin asked when a new CEO would be selected to take over from Ms Yearwood, who was appointed acting CEO after Craig Brown was dismissed by the HSA’s board of directors in October 2006.

Mr. Eden replied that a consultant from the Ministry of Health and Human Services had been put in charge of finding a suitable replacement but added that he was in no rush to replace Ms Yearwood.

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