Health Minister Applauds LCCA’s Work

November 16, 2011

Echoing sentiments expressed by the Governor in the recent Throne Speech, Health Minister Zane DeSilva yesterday [Nov. 15] encouraged Bermudians to support the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association [LCCA] Overseas Medical Care Fund when they are reaching into their pockets to make charitable donations.

The Health Minister said his Ministry works closely with the LCCA  and Government supports its fund with an annual $2 million grant.

“As some of you already know, the fund is used to provide assistance to individuals with inadequate insurance, or those without insurance, who need urgent overseas medical care that is not available locally,” he said.

“…The LCCA provides a financial guarantee to hospitals and health care providers overseas to facilitate care and pre-approved treatment.  [I] would like to remind the public that the LCCA is a charity and so I would certainly encourage any business or individual to make contributions to this very worthwhile charity whenever possible.”

The full text of the Minister’s remarks appears below:

Good afternoon everyone,

Thank you for coming today.

At the end of the recent Throne Speech His Excellency the Governor Sir Richard Gozney reminded the public that there are several charities in our community which undertake highly significant work to augment the efforts of the Bermuda Government.

One of the charities His Excellency mentioned by name was the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association – or  ”LCCA” – with whom the Ministry of Health works very closely on The Overseas Medical Care Fund.

This fund provides assistance to individuals with life threatening conditions needing urgent medical care that is not available on the island.

Therefore, it is appropriate to highlight the work which is undertaken by the LCCA in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.

The partnership between the LCCA and the Ministry of Health began back in the 1950’s when Government engaged the LCCA, a charitable organization, to administer The Overseas Medical Care Fund.

The fund provides financial assistance to individuals for overseas medical treatment on the understanding that they repay the fund through a staged repayment plan.

Approval for assistance is based entirely on medical grounds. Individuals must be referred by their physician or surgeon and ALL applications MUST be approved by a medical committee and conform to pre-established criteria.

It is worth noting that during the twelve month period from 1st April 2009 through 31st March 2010 the majority of referrals were for the management of heart disease and related conditions.

As some of you already know, the fund is used to provide assistance to individuals with inadequate insurance, or those without insurance, who need urgent overseas medical care that is not available locally.

Individuals receiving assistance are asked to provide details of their health insurance coverage and their ability to pay the anticipated costs of their overseas care.

The LCCA then requires the individual, or a family member, to agree to a reasonable repayment scheme.

In addition, the LCCA advises that in the event the individual or their family defaults on the repayment agreement without good cause, the LCCA may take steps to recover unreimbursed costs.

The LCCA provides a financial guarantee to hospitals and health care providers overseas to facilitate care and pre-approved treatment.

The LCCAn has engaged the Canadian Medical Network, Inc. (CMN), an international health management company, to help manage risks and costs and provide:-

  • cost estimates;
  • access to its preferred providers;
  • air ambulance services;
  • case management; and
  • claims management.

The LCCA now pays hospitals and physicians directly through CMN and reclaims costs from insurers, patients or their families. Monies from the fund are used to pay for:

  • hospitalization;
  • physician services;
  • diagnostic procedures; and
  • treatment services.

For many years, the LCCA has paid overseas hospitals and health care providers and reclaimed monies from local insurers and patients or their families.

Throughout this time Government has provided an annual grant to support this revolving fund and cover any shortfalls in repayments.

In recent years, the Government has supported the fund with an annual grant of $2 million which forms one part of Government’s overall $227 million per year donations to charities and deserving organizations.

However, it should be noted that there are several potential problems associated with the administration of the fund.

Firstly, the number of individuals requiring assistance is unpredictable, and, secondly, the fund is used to assist individuals who do not have major medical insurance coverage and may have limited financial resources. So, whilst most individuals who receive assistance do make their repayments, some default.

Consequently, the Association, in consultation with the Department of Health, has instituted a number of measures to contain costs.

For example, requirements for cost estimates and the use of a health management company have helped to improve overall claims management.

Also, the use of a health management company has permitted access to a much larger number of hospitals and healthcare providers who offer competitively priced services.

There are many advantages to having the fund run by a charitable organization – rather than exclusively by Government.

For one thing, the LCCA is able to obtain accounting and audit services at reduced rates because of its charitable status.

Also, costs for administering the fund would be significantly increased if this function were transferred to Government.

Technical officers in the Ministry of Health have determined that a minimum of three additional staff including an administrator, a case manager and an accounting clerk would be required to administer the fund in an effective manner.

I am happy to state that even though the LCCA budget was reduced this financial year, we were able to provide additional assistance by deferring some of the capital works at Lefroy House.

In closing I would like to remind the public that the LCCA is a charity and so I would certainly encourage any business or individual to make contributions to this very worthwhile charity whenever possible.

Thank You.

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