L-R: Mrs. Cedorene Patricia Malone-Smith, Director of Hospital Services; Bishop John Cline, Chairman of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) Board; and Dr. June Samuel, Chief of Medical Staff.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
The BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) is ready to deliver on a promise made to engage the community to discuss issues and concerns in the public healthcare system through a series of meetings.
In a press release to the media, the BVIHSA announced that a meeting is planned for residents on Virgin Gorda on Wednesday, August 29, 2012. According to the BVIHSA, the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm at the Ashford Waters Community Centre and is specifically designed to discuss and relay any concerns residents may have as it relates to the BVISHA.
"In an effort to improve the delivery and quality of service to the community, the Virgin Gorda public is kindly asked to attend and voice concerns, while providing feedback on initiatives presented. Board members, the Executive Management Team, as well as the key personnel responsible for the operation of the clinics will be present," the release stated.
During a press conference in June, Chairman of the BVIHSA's Board, Bishop John Cline said he believes that the public's opinion about the public health system needs to change and more importantly, residents need to understand that the provision of healthcare is a costly venture.
Bishop John Cline and other senior officials of the BVIHSA used a press conference on June 14 to push back at public criticisms about the quality of service provided, especially at Peebles Hospital.
"The story the way it's told sometimes makes it look like people only die in the BVI and that if you go to Puerto Rico or if you go to the U.S. you wouldn't die and quite the contrary," Bishop Cline had told reporters in June.
"We have seen many people who we have sent off to other places and they still meet their end and sometimes it seems like when they die here that's amplified, but if they die off island it is not noted. All we are saying is understand that medicine is not magic. We will not be able to save everybody, but we are doing all that we can to ensure the health of our population and take care of those who fall sick or in danger, whether it's here locally or with our partners overseas. That is our aim and that is our mission," Bishop Cline had stated.
Bishop Cline had pointed out that the public system is owed millions, but the BVIHSA is making an effort to streamline the registration and billing department within the next 24 months.
Bishop Cline noted that persons who are in arrears to the BVIHSA can afford make their payments. He also pointed out that the BVIHSA is a business and does not rule out legal options to collect outstanding money, although that is likely to be a last resort.
"It is amazing that people would leave from the BVI, go to St. Thomas, Puerto Rico or the U.S. and they have to present their insurance card and they have to pay, but when they come to Peebles Hospital or our clinics, they feel they don't have to pay...they don't walk with any insurance card...that we must change," Bishop Cline stated in June.
He added that healthcare is healthcare and if it's anywhere that persons must support healthcare financially, it should be at home first because no one wants to get on a plane or on a boat to travel overseas to find good healthcare.