Private patients to pay
FROM?TUESDAY (November 1), private care patients at the Queen Elizabeth hospital will have to pay the full cost of service before admission.
This was announced by Minister of Health Donville Inniss yesterday during a press conference. He stated that over the last five years the QEH?had been subsidizing private care to the tune of $4 million and this could no longer continue.
“The evidence reveals that private patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, over the last couple of years, have not been paying their bills . . . .
“I have no reason to believe that they are not paying their doctors, but they are making these small deposits at the hospital and the minute they are discharged the hospital does not see or hear of them until it is time to be readmitted.
And then they are readmitted anyhow with the outstanding bill that is just added on to the new bill. This is unacceptable!” he stated.
The minister added: “I have directed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital that with immediate effect to change their deposit policy, so that individuals who are going to the QEH as private patients shall pay upfront the estimated cost of their service prior to their admission.”
Inniss also announced that funding would be provided for the implementation of electronic patient records at all public health institutions, but beginning with the QEH, as a matter of urgency.
He also reported that four of the operating theatres were closed for necessary maintenance and would be out of commission for about two more weeks. Pointing to a lack of adequate maintenance at the 47-year-old institution, Inniss, who also announced the construction of a new general hospital said a situation like this could not continue “ad infinitum”.
Inniss also expressed concern about the number of people who were still at the hospital even though they had been discharged, because they had nowhere to go. He said there were 31 elderly individuals and 13 young people.