The Bermuda Medical Doctors Association (BMDA) has issued a statement citing concerns regarding the impact of slashed health insurance cuts on reimbursement for diagnostic imaging conducted outside of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

BMDA President Dr Annabel Fountain issued a statement today saying the association is “very concerned about the effect these cuts will have on Bermudian businesses”, their “colleagues, their employees and potentially their patients”.

Now they’re requesting “the methodology and other considerations” by the Bermuda Health Council (BHeC) used to establish the new fee schedules.

“We are concerned now and for future healthcare management in Bermuda,” said Dr Fountain. “A Relative Value (RVU) has been circulated and the Bermuda Health Council states that it incorporates, amongst other things, the relative costs of maintaining a practice, including rent, equipment, supplies, and non-physician staff costs, as well as relative time, skill, training and intensity to provide a given service. The Bermuda Medical Doctors Association is not aware of stakeholder consultation with the community in setting this RVU,” she added.

While the BMDA “fully supports efforts to reduce costs to the health care system and to the individual”, she said: “Threatening the financial stability of local Bermudian businesses and their employees by abrupt changes in reimbursement without adequate transparency and consultation should be discouraged by us all.

“We would like to add that the fees being charged in the community for diagnostic imaging were set by the Bermuda Government, and not by any individual entity. Diagnostic imaging services in the community have based their business plans on the fee schedule set by the Government.

“Of our total health expenditure, diagnostic imaging accounts for about 10%. Although these cuts may have a small effect in the short term, without system-wide redesign, they are unlikely to yield meaningful savings in the medium to long term,” said Dr Fountain.

She also noted that efforts are underway with the BMDA, the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Bermuda Medical Council to develop a sustainable health care system that’s more accessible in the interest of local patients.

Bermuda Healthcare Services and Brown-Clinic Chairman Dr Ewart Brown and others have already gone on record with regards to this new policy. You will also note that Bermuda Real has gone on record with regards to the issue of patients’ rights as well.

To date, the Bermuda Health Council has yet to issue a statement on the new reimbursement policy.