Editorial for 17 May: Added financial recovery at HSA

Anytime a new system is put into place glitches are
expected; it’s part of the learning curve.

And that’s just what the Health Services Authority is
finding out with its new billing and insurance verification system, which has
been introduced at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

It is hoped that the system will save the Authority between
$30 million and $40 million over the next 10 years.

Part of the problem with the new system is that patients are
forgetting to take their CarePay cards with them when seeking services at the
hospital and clinics. You can’t really fault them; many of them have been
seeking medical help for years without having to show any kind of
identification and some, without paying.

Another glitch has been with civil servants being charged
for services for which they traditionally haven’t had to pay. We have to wonder
why anyone seeking medical attention at a government hospital or clinic –
including civil servants – would be receiving any services for free.

The government hospital and clinics is a business that hires
people, pays salaries and buys goods and services. Those salaries are used by employees
to help keep the economy in the Cayman Islands going. Many of the goods and
services are contracted out to Caymanian companies, keeping the money flow in
the country.

Part of the problem with the ongoing debt woes at the
hospital stems from clients not paying their bills. There has long been an
assumption that because it is run by the government, there should be no charges
and people have refused to pay.

Many measures have been put in place to get people
re-thinking about their need to pay for medical services and to ensure that
collections are made.

The majority of the debt at HSA – more than $60 million in
the 2009/20 financial year – came from uncollectable bills.

We are sure the glitches in the new billing and insurance
verification system will eventually be worked out and that the hospital and HSA
will continue on the road to financial recovery.


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