The Cayman Islands public health authority, as well as the islands’ most popular land-based tourist attraction, reported financial losses to the Legislative Assembly in reports made public Wednesday.
The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority reported a net loss of $1.7 million for the 2014/15 government budget year, after it had turned a profit the previous year. These are the most recent figures to be submitted to the legislature.
Meanwhile, the Cayman Turtle Centre reported an overall loss of about $6 million for the 2015/16 year in its financial statements.
According an audit completed for the public health authority, the auditor general’s office could not satisfy itself as to the accuracy of some $89.9 million in uncollected patient fees – generally known as “bad debts” within the hospital system.
These are fees that have not been paid for at least a year, and in some cases, much longer.
Auditors also noted they were troubled about patient accounts receivables – money due to be paid – as stated in the financial records.
The report also noted that the agency had not maintained the required level of cash reserves for the year.
Health Services Authority officials told auditors they were working on a plan to achieve “revenue completeness” and that the public health system would hopefully receive a “clean” audit opinion by 2018.
“[The HSA] can only meet its cash requirements if it is appropriately paid for the services provided,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said Wednesday while presenting the report in the Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, continuing losses at the Cayman Turtle Centre were recorded again last year; however, most of the losses were due to repayment of a loan.
According to Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, about $4.5 million went to the facility during the 2015/16 budget year to repay that loan, which should be settled up by 2019. Another $2.4 million was paid in cash to cover operating losses, he said.
There was some good news on the operations side as well, the deputy premier said. Overall revenues from admissions, retail, food and drink, and turtle meat sales went up 15 percent during the 2015/16 year. Turtle meat sales increased by 29 percent compared to the previous government budget year.
“Local demand for turtle meat shows no signs of diminishing any time in the near future,” Mr. Kirkconnell said, adding that “there will be unsustainable pressure to take turtles from the wild in our local population” if the farm does not continue operations.