Neither the BHB nor the Ministry of Health can detail individual matters, however our discussion about our only hospital should be less about salaries and more about quality of care, Health Minister Zane DeSilva said today [Oct 2].
Minister DeSilva was speaking in reference to the questions surrounding the resignation of Dr Donald Thomas, who was employed as Chief of Staff in June 2008, placed on fully paid “administrative leave” during this past summer before resigning in October 2012. The reasons for his leave and resignation have not been revealed, something OBA MP Louise Jackson has questioned.
Minister DeSilva’s full statement follows below:
Some of the chatter on the talk shows and news at the moment revolves around Mrs. Jackson’s questions regarding the resignation of the Bermuda Hospitals Board’s Chief of Staff Dr. Donald Thomas.
To be clear – neither the BHB nor the Ministry of Health can detail individual matters.
Mrs. Jackson asks whether Dr. Thomas was on fully paid administrative leave since being suspended in July?
BHB has already confirmed that Dr. Thomas was on paid administrative leave. The Board has consistently acted in line with its own policies and within contractual and national legal requirements.
Ms. Jackson also asks what role Dr. Thomas had to play in the “increase in salaries and specialist fees at the BHB”?
I should have to remind anyone that specialist fees are approved every year by the House as part of the budget setting process for Standard Hospital Benefit.
The increase in salaries in the 2010-11 financial accounts had more to do with increasing the number of employed physicians and other staff, which increased the services offered by the hospital, rather than a simple increase in salaries.
BHB is already reviewing its service profile and physician specialty offering.
Work is already underway, and physician contracts and subspecialties are included in the Clinical & Corporate Governance Review that is planned.
I would like to remind everyone that our discussion about our ONLY Hospital should be less about salaries, and more about quality of care.
In this regard there have been many achievements this year by BHB. These include:
A New Leadership Focus – Better Quality, More Accountability at Lower Cost.
- A restructuring of the Chief of Staff office was agreed by the Board back in March 2012.
- That restructure is already underway with physician contracts and credentialing moving to the Human Resources section.
- It was also agreed that the recruitment process for the Chief of Staff position should be updated to include a panel with representatives from the physician community as part of the appointment of a permanent replacement.
A Clinical & Corporate Governance Review was approved by the Board to look at strengths and areas to improve governance, decision making, accountability and ensure the focus is always on quality and the patient.
The Ombudsman of Bermuda has agreed to be involved on behalf of the Bermuda community and will make public comments on the process as well as the final report.
The Bermuda Hospitals Board has published the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Clinical and Corporate Governance Review, and the short-listing process will take place this month.
The Clinical and Corporate Governance Review has been planned for the following reasons:
- To ensure robust corporate governance standards are in place;
- To identify obligations and liabilities relating to the growth in the number of BHB-employed physicians;
- To address concerns expressed in the community regarding quality of care;
- To review preparations for the operational readiness of the new hospital facility;
- To address BHB responsibilities under the National Health Plan;
- To ensure financial preparations enable BHB to meet obligations of the KEMH Redevelopment Project, despite the economic challenges; and
- To review the transition to a new corporate management structure under the new Chief Executive Officer.
Quality. Accreditation Canada – BHB has the highest level of accreditation and is tested under the same standards as Canadian hospitals. Patient Satisfaction shows increases across the board.
Palliative Care. The Liverpool Care Pathway has been introduced at Agape House to improve the quality of end-of-life care under the clinical direction of Dr Sharon Alikani.
Chronic Disease Management. New Pressure Point Classes have been started to help people with high blood pressure manage their condition. A new Diabetic Foot Clinic, run by Dr Annabel Fountain, has been implemented to help reduce incidence of amputation due to diabetes
New leading edge pap smear equipment, called “thin prep” has been introduced to catch more cervical cancers earlier.
Automated Lab equipment is helping making the lab service more efficient.
A new CT Scanner has led to the introduction of virtual colonoscopy for people who are not candidates for the surgical option
MRI now offering breast imaging.
Mental Health First Aid Course is now being offered to help community members recognize and support people with mental health issues.
Finally, there seems to be a perception that Government provides a great deal of money to the hospital.
In truth, the Government provides a grant for the operations of MWI but, for KEMH, the only funding which the Government provides is for the payment of claims for patients who are eligible for the Patient Subsidy.
Of the revenue that KEMH receives, two thirds comes from private insurers, while only one third comes from “government insurance” in the form of Patient Subsidy.
Patient Subsidy is essentially Government paying the claims for people who are treated at the hospital who are eligible for subsidy – those being our vulnerable populations – children, seniors and the indigent.
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