Opposition Leader On Resignation, Health Costs

January 22, 2018 | 24 Comments

“The statement by the Premier announcing former Minister DeSilva’s resignation leaves a lot of unanswered questions,” Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden said, adding that “regardless of what the reason is for the resignation of Mr. DeSilva the people of Bermuda need to be assured that this will not lead to an increase in the cost of healthcare.”

Jeanne Atherden Bermuda TC Jan 22 2018

Zane DeSilva Resigns From Cabinet

Last night, Premier David Burt confirmed that Mr DeSilva resigned from Cabinet, with the Premier saying Mr DeSilva “expressed the conflict he faces by a set of circumstances this new government inherited; specifically, the decision made by the former government to significantly reduce the fees paid for MRI and CT scans in Bermuda and the new Government’s actions to mitigate the impact of those fee reductions without increasing health insurance costs.”

Speaking today, Mr DeSilva said his “principled stand” is “one based on fairness and justice,” adding that he “could not just stand by and watch a black business close, let alone a good friend of mine like Dr. Brown.”

Mr DeSilva said, “When I was Health Minister previously, my goal was to cut healthcare costs across the spectrum, with regard to health providers, and what they charged for their services during the course of a year. Let me make that clear.

“You will know that, when the OBA were in power, they reduced the CT and MRI services, both at Dr. Brown’s and at the hospital, which was clearly pointed at Dr. Brown, and Dr. Brown only.

“I think had the Bermuda Health Council at the time, and the OBA at the time, had concentrated on doing a cut across the entire healthcare system in Bermuda, I don’t think anybody would have had too many problems.

“But when you have technical officers that come in and advise you, that this should be the level of cuts across the entire spectrum, and the OBA decide to slash that even further, almost crippling, if not crippling Dr. Brown’s business, I have a big issue with that.”

Mr DeSilva — who will continue to serve as an MP for Southampton East — previously served as Minister of Social Development and Sports, and Minister for the Cabinet Office Lovitta Foggo will be the Acting Minister of Social Development and Sports until a new Minister is appointed.

Opposition Leader’s Comments

Ms Atherden — who previously served as Minister of Health — said, “The Bermuda Health Council which was formed in 2006 by the PLP Government through the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 enhances and coordinates the delivery of healthcare services. It is a regulatory body which ensures the health system is sustainable.

“It monitors health finances and expenditures whilst increasing cost effectiveness. As the population ages it will increasingly become more difficult to maintain quality health care without managing the cost of health care.

“The Government made a statement ‘making health care more affordable is one of the most important Government initiatives’ but when there has been an opportunity to reduce the cost paid for a service it back tracks.

“The fees approved for implementation on July 1, 2017 had a basis for the recommendation provided by the Bermuda Health Council. They considered the fees too high when compared to other jurisdictions, making it a profitable service and now the profit margin will be reduced and the burden on the insured would be lessened. Without seeing the books of an organization one cannot say if ‘the financial losses’ incurred would now make it unprofitable.

“The PLP Government in its’ CT and MRI Fees Fact Sheet’ [PDF] has stated that the fees which the OBA Government approved to be charged ‘were significantly lower than the technical recommendation’. As the Minister involved in the setting of the fees I dispute this claim.

“The Fact Sheet mentions costing Government an extra $8.6 million if the diagnostic imaging fees revert to the pre-June 2017. [For clarity, Government should acknowledge that these fees are also paid by insurers other than Government and confirm that they will be paying for All plans not just for the fees covered by the plans referred to in figure1 [the Government controlled plans].

“The Government should acknowledge that the fees approved for July 1, 2017 were properly tabled and the adoption of these ‘option fees’ are outside of the approved reimbursement rates process.

“Additionally it should be expressly stated that the payment of this expenditure is not setting a precedent especially as the Government has indicated that there will be additional expenditure of $2.6 million which will require the tabling a supplementary estimate for 2017/18.

“In April 2018, Government would normally introduce new fees and new services, I would hope the Government would not revert to the pre- June 2017 fee rates and continue with the cost/utilization review which does not affect patient care but rather is designed to make the system more effective and patient centered.

“The OBA Government was working towards a full conversion of the SHB [standard health benefit] fee schedule to RVU [relative value unit] methodology which would result in equity across BHB and Community settings for the same services having started with lab and diagnostic services. It is essential that this continues if the cost of health is to decrease with the corresponding decrease in premiums. Bermudians need some financial relief in their pocketbooks.

“The statement by the Premier announcing former Minister DeSilva’ s resignation leaves a lot of unanswered questions. What was the conflict of interest between Mr. DeSilva and Dr. Brown? All members of parliament are required to declare any material interest in Government business, when was this conflict known?

“Regardless of what the reason is for the resignation of Mr. DeSilva the people of Bermuda need to be assured that this will not lead to an increase in the cost of healthcare in Bermuda. The Bermudian people deserve to know what the reasons are for Mr. DeSilva’s resignation.”

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Comments (24)

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  1. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Sounds to me lime the Opposition Leader is still being advised by the Bermuda Health Council.

    • somuchless says:

      LaVerne. Are you and ya marchers gonna sit up on de hill and protest?

      Why not do something worthwhile and protest against how your own party is handling the bus cancellations.

    • Justin says:

      Sounds to me like Dr Brown is still pulling your strings.

    • Unbelievable says:

      And it sounds to me like you like to stir the pot with no proof :)

    • Wahoo says:

      Sounds to me like you are still defensive.

    • Zevon says:

      She was the Health Minister.

      Of course, it would be much more convenient for the PLP if nobody else was allowed to know what’s going on.
      Your normal way of doing things.

    • The real Terry says:

      LaVerne I wouldn’t go there if I were you, you are out of your league when it comes to health care costs. Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  2. Frogman says:

    Alright dearie, go and sit down in your chair.
    Mr Dunkley will be along with your meds soon.

  3. OBA supporter says:

    I know the opposition has to say something but she is know doubt the weakest of the 12.

    I actually prefer to hear Mr. Dunkley speak over this woman anytime of the day. At this rate with her as leader the plp will be in charge for 30 years. She reminds me of the Disney character Goofy and how boring he is. She puts Bermuda sleep.

  4. Up D hill says:

    Sounds like to me the lines have been drawn in your partys split LF , looking forward to the drama

  5. Hmm…. of all people……

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Bermuda Health Council which was formed in 2006 by the PLP Government through the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 enhances and coordinates the delivery of healthcare services. It is a regulatory body which ensures the health system is sustainable.”

    How interesting, I could have sworn that Premier Burt said just the other day that the BHC was an arm of the government and was carrying out instructions from the OBA when it slashed fees earlier this month.

  7. whip lash says:

    Laverne, would you care to make a statement about the bus fiasco? Just wondering everyone including the minister is HUSH HUSH~! Except the mini bus owners of course, the select that are being selected!

    • do the math says:

      Hey Whip and anyone else that want to talk about the Bus situation…..if you understand anything this problem and the age of the fleet, then you would know this problem is from the OBA time in government. Just do the math….(not trying to blame but making a correction)

      • Zevon says:

        In 2011 two thirds of the bus fleet was off the road. Do the math.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Actually, the bus situation long predates the 2012 election. Go back a few more years to see when new buses were ordered before 2012.

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