Salary cuts from the top down are in the pipeline in the “very near future” at Bermuda HealthCare Services and the Brown-Darrell Clinic, as a result of the recent move by the Bermuda Health Council that slashed insurance coverage for diagnostic imaging at the two medical facilities.
In a statement released last evening, former Premier Dr Ewart Brown said the “callous irrational and illegal reductions in payments for MRI’s and CT scans left him with few options other than making “a painful decision”.
“Either we were going to lay off employees, send summer students home and keep fewer people working or we could make cuts across the board and keep everyone gainfully employed. We chose the latter,” he said.
While noting that Health Council Board Chair Simone Barton and Finance Chairman Andrew Simons are both One Bermuda Alliance candidates in the upcoming General Election, Dr Brown said: “What you see here are the raw elements of a political vendetta.” He also said the reimbursement rates slashed by the BHeC last month were introduced “with the direct intent to destroy” his business.
“We will fight this just as we are resisting the wider effort of destruction being employed by the OBA,” He said. “We have over 20 employees, most of whom are Bermudians, and we intend to fight relentlessly to keep them employed so we can continue to serve our patients.
“BHCS has been in existence since 1990 and is the only facility outside of KEMH that performs MRI’s. Brown-Darrell has been open for the past nine years and is the only facility outside of KEMH that performs CT scans,” he added.
“In the past, both of these clinics have served as back-up facilities when KEMH’s machines have been down. It is critical to the health of all Bermudians that we have operational diagnostic equipment in the event that KEMH’s is not operational.
“Clearly, the OBA government through BHeC did not think of this, or simply were so distracted by their ruthless and never-ending attacks on me that they paid no regard to the wider implications for our majority Bermudian staff or our Bermudian patients.”
The BHeC issued the notice via email on May 16th, that as of June 1st, health insurance payments for MRI and CT scans at BHCS and the Brown-Darrell Clinics would be reduced by as much as 87 per cent.
Dr Brown stated from the outset that his legal team would consider various options and that they were prepared to go as far as possible “within the law to fight this”.
On the diagnostic scans conducted at KEMH, he said: “We see increases to all other diagnostic imaging services in Bermuda. It is of note and importance that, outside of KEMH, only BHCS and BD offer CT’s and MRI’s, and that the Government has a myriad number of ways in which they can make up the difference to KEMH.
“Only BHCS and BD are isolated in receiving such sever cuts with no possible way the difference can be absorbed. Neither of our clinics received advance notice or consultation, although the BHeC has claimed that their being in a meeting with two members of our management team talking about general cuts was ‘consultation’.
“Of course there are very few businesses in Bermuda or elsewhere which could withstand such a sudden and drastic reduction in revenue. There are few people, including the BHeC executive who are championing these cuts, who could take a reduction in salary by up to 87% with just two weeks notice. It is uncivil and inhumane. It is treatment undeserved by our clinics, our staff and our patients.”
Shortly after the notice, a BHeC spokeswoman said a statement would be issued in response to Dr Brown’s initial statement. To date, that statement has not been issued to Bermuda Real or the media in general.