BHEC: ‘Healthcare System At Breaking Point’

February 14, 2018

“Our healthcare system is at a breaking point,” the Bermuda Health Council [BHEC] said, adding that “we cannot continue with the status quo and we must make bold moves to change this course.”

“Between 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2016 health expenditure was $701.4M which represents a $13M increase from the previous year,” the organisation said.

“The increase can be attributed to the initiation of a $10.2M transfer to support the provision of inpatient services and an increase in cost and use of services offered by community providers such as laboratory services, allied health services and diagnostic imaging.

“As a community, we are investing the majority of our healthcare dollars in curative care. This category includes care provided after you have been in an accident, after a diagnosis has been made or, after an emergency event has changed your life. When compared to other countries, on average, Bermuda’s residents spend more but are not healthier.

Chart provided by BHEC:

Health Expenditure Bermuda Feb 14 2018

“This means we are not getting the most value for the money we are spending. Changes are necessary to increase our quality of life and better grow our economy.

“Additionally, our population is aging which means there are less working people to fund the health system. If we do not make impactful changes soon, the younger generations will be paying for our inaction in the future.

“This demographic shift, coupled with overindulgence, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles means that patients will end up seeking more complex and emergency care to fix or manage preventable health issues. To overcome these real and pending problems, we, as a society, need to spend our money more wisely.”

Tiara Carlington, Policy Analyst, Data and Research, states: “We need a cultural and policy shift to really see a decrease in the cost of healthcare. Premiums and the cost of care will continue to rise if we spend money in the same places.

“Unfortunately, focusing heavily on curative care comes at the expense of programmes that target other areas such as preventative and promotive care, which could improve the overall health of the population.”

“There needs to be a national discussion about how we can invest, in both short and long term sustainability of the health system and health-generating activities. This change requires hard work and commitment from all health system stakeholders.”

The information below was provided by BHEC.

Total health expenditure in FYE 2016:

  • Total health expenditure was $701.4M, a 1.9% increase from the previous year
  • Health expenditure represents 11.5% of GDP
  • Health expenditure per capita was $11,362 an increase of 2.2%

Where did the money come from?

  • 27.4% [$192M] of financing was from the public sector
  • 72.6% [$509.4M] of financing was from the private sector
  • Health insurance premiums accounted for 62.3% [$436.7M] of health financing
  • Individual out-of-pocket payments accounted for 9.7% [$68M] of health financing
  • Donations to non-profit organisations 0.7% [$4.7M] of health financing.

How was the money spent?

  • 51.4% [$360.6M] of health expenditure was in the private sector entities
  • 48.6% [$340.9M] of health expenditure was in the public sector entities
  • Of the total expenditure on public sector entities, 89.7% [$323.3M] was spend on the inpatient and outpatient care services provided by Bermuda Hospitals Board
  • Overseas care accounted for 12.1% [$84.7M] of total health expenditure
  • Local community providers accounted for 21.5% [$151M] of total health expenditure
  • Prescription drugs accounted for 6.3% [$44.2M] of total health expenditure
  • Health insurance administration accounted for 8.7% [$61M] of health expenditure

Additional Tips

  • Ask your insurer about your coverage before you seek care.
  • Ask your health service provider about the cost of your care before making an appointment
  • Shop around if you are not satisfied with the cost or quality of care

BHEC noted that 2017 National Health Accounts Report, along with reports from previous years, can be found on their website.

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Comments (4)

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  1. I'm full ... says:

    I’m not surprised at the above findings. Our culture and our poor choices have led us to what has transpired today. Since going on a whole plant based diet, drinking more water & exercising 4 + Times per week I’ve seen a huge diff in my sugar levels and pressure. But preparation is the key. Since Jan I’ve lost approx 20 pounds just by making those changes. Has it been easy? No. It takes a mind shift but I needed it or my health would have been progressively worse. And the best part of all I’ve gone from being constipated to now being regular due to fiber intake. Come on Bermuda! We can all do better! But let’s start by making healthy foods more affordable. Let’s use less or no salt in our foods. Let’s drink more water. Lets consume more fiber foods and plant based foods. Hate to say it, but the meats and dairy that we have been so use to consuming and believing it’s healthy have too much cholesterol anyway. Bermuda, we can be a healthier country. One step at a time.

  2. Dear Tawanna says:

    The BHEC is not useful. If all we get are cryptic reports that really dont say much she is wasting our money with her pontification. BHEC with Rogers and Wedderburn, have not specifically stated what amount of money goes to Doctors for doctors appointments. What exactly goes to Laboratories in Doctors offices. What exactly goes to CT/MRI in hospital vs. Out of Hospital… That is what we need to know as it clearly defines who are the low hanging fruit.
    Truth be told. If you close the private sector Imaging and Labs, then this money will go to the Hospital because Doctors still need that information and results. It will only mean more cost because the hospital costs more to do the same and it is more time consuming and less efficient.

  3. campervan says:

    The figures are no longer workable.
    Too many young, healthy expatriates who subsidised the health care costs have left. Chased away by ill thought out policies and lack of long term opportunities.
    Bermudians are now also leaving to the likes of the UK where they can avail themselves of inexpensive health care, this is causing further depopulation.
    The healthcare costs alone could bankrupt the Island even if we had a manageable debt.

  4. Different Opinion says:

    “Dear Tawanna” your response seems rather personal.

    BHEC has been very resourceful for me in determining market needs and projections. Yes, I take issue with how some of their new initiatives are rolled out but not with the BHEC itself! My experience in the health industry is that often those that are kicking and screaming about increased standards and regulation either are unprepared to deliver care at said standard or they are profiting from the status quo, or are blindly led by a medical doctor that falls in that bucket. Which are you?