Hard on the heels of word that three employees at the Brown-Darrell Clinic will lose their jobs at the end of the month as a result of “severe reductions in fee payments”, Health Minister Kim Wilson has indicated that no further help is on the way from the new Progressive Labour Party (PLP) administration.
Ms Wilson issued a statement last night, in response to the Bermuda Real interview with Former Premier and clinic owner Dr Ewart Brown.
She also appeared on the Sherri Simmons Show today, where she was met by a number of callers who expressed disappointment with the Minister’s position,.
In her prepared statement, the Minister said: “The Government regrets the impending end of CT services at the Brown-Darrell Clinic but wishes to assure the public that access to CT scans will continue to be available at BHB (Bermuda Hospitals Board).”
She also noted that “the Government is currently reviewing all healthcare fees and will implement a new fee schedule in 2018” to make “healthcare more affordable”, which “will continue to be one of the most important government initiatives”.
When contacted by Bermuda Real this weekend, Dr Brown stated outright the fee cuts by the Bermuda Health Council is “a political problem that has to have a political solution”.
He confirmed that he met with the then anticipated Minister of Health and the Premier just prior to the last General Election that resulted in the change in government.
When asked what that means moving forward, he said he was hopeful the new administration “will reconsider this glaring case of victimisation as only they can”, because his businesses were targeted.
But he said: “I wanted them to repeal the law. It appears that the Bermuda Health Council and civil servants have convinced them that health premiums would rise.
“We never anticipated that we would be put out of business by a government agency. Few businesses could survive up to 87 percent cuts in revenue with only two weeks’ notice,” he said.
“No local or exempt company has ever been treated so harshly.”
The Bermuda Health Council has stated that it was “incorrect” for the clinic to suggest it had been targeted.
The Minister stated: “The new Government took steps to mitigate the impact of significant fee reductions by the previous Government.
“The Brown-Darrell Clinic, Bermuda Healthcare Services and the Bermuda Hospitals Board were negatively affected by the reduction in fees they were able to charge for CT and MRI services.
“When the Government came into office, the situation was reviewed and several options were considered to mitigate the adverse impact caused by the former government’s rate reductions.
“After review, it was decided to supplement the fees for MRI and CT services at all entities from Government funds rather than raise residents’ health insurance premiums midyear.”