Govt To Amend Health Council Legislation

June 11, 2024 | 0 Comments

Minister of Health Kim Wilson announced plans to amend the Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act 2024, with the “proposed amendment to be laid in the Senate, which will remove the penalty of imprisonment.”

Minister Wilson said, “I am holding this press conference to address the recent developments related to the Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act 2024, passed in the House of Assembly on May 3, 2024.

“As you would recall, The Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act 2024 made provisions that will expand the collection of important health system data, to enable stronger and more timely health policy decision-making, more effective delivery of health services, and improved population health outcomes.

“The Bill is a critical step in fulfilling our 2023 Throne Speech initiative to support data collection to control medical “co-pays” for our vulnerable population.

Minister of Health Kim Wilson Bermuda Health Council Act Bermuda June 2024

“We have heard from many persons who are struggling with co-pays, and the Government is determined to deliver on this promise to ensure that Bermudians are not excluded from receiving vital primary care due to the inability to meet co-pays. Primary care is essential to catch medical issues early to ensure timely treatment.

“Also, as we continue towards universal health coverage [UHC], accurate data to enable evidence-based and informed decision-making is essential.

“One of the key weaknesses of our healthcare system in Bermuda is that we do not have the necessary data to inform the decisions that are needed to make healthcare more affordable in Bermuda – and this has been pointed out in numerous reports over the last decade. The Government has a responsibility to act, to ensure that we are listening to the experts and advancing reform that is informed by data.

“While many agreed on the importance of data collection, the inclusion of a penalty of imprisonment for non-compliance provoked concern and reservation from valuable stakeholders in our physician community.

“We have actively listened to the concerns and suggestions raised since the passing of this Bill in the House of Assembly from all sides, and in the spirit of collaboration, the Government will amend the bill in the Senate following representations made by legislators, members of the public, and some of our health service providers. We believe that the proposed amendment reflects our dedication to inclusive and responsive governance.

“By incorporating feedback from our colleagues, we look forward to the passage of this bill in the Senate as a key measure to advance our progress toward Universal Health Care.

“The proposed amendment to be laid in the Senate, which will remove the penalty of imprisonment, will be incorporated to ensure that Bermuda can achieve its intended goals: namely the collection of anonymized data in a manner that is focused and authorized, all to improve health outcomes and enhance financial sustainability and affordability.

“It is important that I reiterate at this time that no personal medical information will ever be requested by the Government of Bermuda Health Council – this is about promoting better population health outcomes.

“This change demonstrates our commitment to considering diverse perspectives and working together for the betterment of our community and nation as we jointly move towards Universal Health Care.

“I believe the proposed amendment strengthens our objectives towards better data collection, and I am optimistic about the positive impact it will have. I am grateful for the constructive feedback and cooperation we have received from our stakeholders in the medical community.

“Universal Health Care is not easy, but it is a worthy goal that is shared by most Bermudians. Too many in our community go without the necessary care at an early stage, which leads to more expensive healthcare for all residents. By ensuring that persons have access to the care they need at an affordable price we can achieve the goal of a healthier population, ensuring that we have healthy people in healthy communities.”

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