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QEH care still free

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QEH care still free

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BARBADIANS AND PERMANENT residents remain entitled to free services from the Queen Elizabeth?Hospital (QEH) but insurance companies have been paying for treatment of victims of motor vehicular accidents.
That’s according to chief executive officer Dr Dexter James, who was responding to recent reports that the QEH had been asking Barbadians to pay for health services and that in some cases patients were being overcharged, prompting Minister of Health Donville Inniss to order an investigation.
“It was never the intention, and could not be the intention, that eligible persons, citizens and permanent residents would be required to pay for services,” he stressed.
James said the recent cases in the news related “principally” to people involved in motor vehicular accidents.
He insisted that citizens and permanent residents in Barbados were exempted from charges for treatment at the QEH and urged anyone who fell into that category and had been charged, to contact the office of the CEO.
James said he had not received any report indicating that patients who were eligible for free services had been charged.
While not giving figures on the number of non-nationals presenting themselves in the Accident and Emergency Department, consultant Dr Chaynie Williams said none of them was turned away without being treated.
“We don’t discriminate, all patients who present to the Accident and Emergency Department are triaged and they are seen according to urgency. Patients who are non-national and a fee is applied to their service, will be directed on completion of their urgent care to the accounts department to recover fees due.
“But all of them are seen in the emergency department according to urgency,” Williams said
The CEO reported that insurance companies had been “responsive” to the call from Inniss to pay some of the costs for treating accident victims.
“Accidents do consume a fair amount of our resources, and therefore this is one way we can recoup resources,” he said.
In cases where accident victims were treated, he said the finance department would prepare a bill, which was sent to the provider of the vehicular insurance as indicated by the patient. (YB)