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Out-of-pocket $179 million health spend


marciadottin, [email protected]

Out-of-pocket $179 million health spend

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BARBADIAN HOUSEHOLDS’ spending on health – out of their pockets and unassisted by insurance companies or Government – has neared the $200 million annual mark in recent years.
The money went to private providers, including doctors, dentists and health care institutions.
Minister of Health John Boyce made the disclosure yesterday, addressing a workshop at Savannah Beach Hotel to launch a new University of the West Indies-backed accounting system that will help Government track spending in the health sector.
“In 2011/2012, Barbadians’ out-of-pocket payment to private providers . . . totalled approximately $179 million,” Boyce told the gathering that included senior Ministry of Health, Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Barbados Drug Service, Barbados Hope Foundation, Diabetes Association of Barbados and Barbados Cancer Society officials.
 According to Boyce, data including this period suggested that both out-of-pocket spending by households and public health expenditure totalled more than $500 million annually.
Data for 2007-2012 also showed that public health care amounted to about 65 per cent of total health expenditure, the minister said, adding: “This information is important became it showed that households were paying out of pocket as much as 34 per cent of total health expenditure.”
The new system being introduced in the Ministry of Health is called the Barbados National Health Accounts and is based on a framework developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other agencies.
The UWI’s Centre for Health Economics – which will provide the training and other technical assistance for Barbados – and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are major players in the local programme, already operating in St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica and earmarked for St Vincent.
The system will involve collection of data from a range of sources, including the Ministry of Health and health-related institutions, non-governmental organisations, households and donors; verification of the information; its storage in computers; and its analysis.
“One of the things that the NHA is going to try and help us to answer is whether in fact out-of-pocket spending in Barbados is higher than it should be,” director of the Centre for Health Economics at the St Augustine, Trinidad campus, Professor Karl Theodore, told reporters. (TY)

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