The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority plans to hire a debt collector to go after $58 million in past-due accounts from patients. The debts range from those a couple of months old to some more than three years old, the latter involving some $32 million that has not been paid.
Last month, the chairman of the Health Services Authority, Jonathan Tibbetts, told the Public Accounts Committee in the Legislative Assembly that the authority has more than $90 million in “doubtful debts,” meaning bills that have been outstanding for a year or more.
In the tender documents, the Health Services Authority says it will give the collection agency all the delinquent accounts immediately and then continue to give overdue bills when the HSA’s own collections efforts fail.
Health Services Authority CEO Lizzette Yearwood told the Public Accounts Committee last month, “Going forward, all debt that is owed to the Health Services Authority will be pursued to the full extent of the law.”
The HSA had a policy of not suing local residents for medical debts, but Ms. Yearwood indicated that could change with the new collection procedures. The project scope in the tender does not give the debt collector blanket permission to sue people with past-due accounts, but requires the contractor to get permission from the HSA to bring a lawsuit.
Mr. Tibbetts told the committee that the authority now has permission to write off bad debt and take it off its balance sheets. He said the HSA plans to write off the uncollectible amount by the end of 2017 when the new government fiscal year begins.
Of the $90 million people owe, Ms. Yearwood estimates the HSA will recover about $10 million.
The largest section of debts, $25.7 million, is between three and six years old. Another $7 million is more than six years old.