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#449122 - 10/19/12 09:07 AM K.H.M.H. explains fee for service
Marty Offline

Beginning November first, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital will be imposing consultation fees for non-emergency services and a new administration fee at the pharmacy in addition to the regular charge for medication. The K.H.M.H says it has expanded and improved services and that it needs to cover costs. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Over the past three years, the K.H.M.H. has been in the news for expanding new services to include: cardiology, obstetrics, gynecology and neurosurgery.

Dr. Gary Longsworth, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

Gary Longsworth

“We’ve made some improvements in other areas such as intensive care—both for newborns and adults. This is really in response to demands for service. The demands on the K.H.M.H. have grown significantly over the last several years. As you know, we have a lot of major trauma now; we have a lot of chronic illnesses with complications. And because we are the only tertiary care institution for the country, everything tends to end up at the K.H.M.H. when other institutions are unable to cope with the type of problems that they are presented with.”

But to meet these demands as well as to maintain its services, the K.H.M.H., which is the national referral hospital, says it has to collect revenues to offset the cost.

Dr. Gary Longsworth

“The K.H.M.H. is not a profit making organization as such and whatever revenues we collect go right back into the management of the hospital. With these expanded services, with the increased demands on the hospital, things like our utility costs have grown significantly—every time you add something else, your electricity bill goes up, your water bill goes up and so on. Sometimes the demands require over time service by staff and of course they have to be compensated. Expanded service means you have to put staff on duty for longer hours to cater to the public. All of these things have a cost.”

According to C.E.O. of the K.H.M.H., Doctor Gary Longsworth, the accident and emergency unit of the K.H.M.H. receives over thirty thousand patients per annum with relatively minor illness. And so, effective November first, the institution is implementing the flat fee of ten dollars for visits to the A&E Unit and five dollars for service at the pharmacy.

Dr. Gary Longsworth

“If and when they do come here, we will accommodate them, but we are asking if they will pay a small administrative fee to cover the cost of providing the service. This fee used to be in place previously—many years ago, but for whatever reason it went dormant—so we are now advising the public that we are reinstating this fee at the Accident and Emergency for those non emergency cases that come through. Additionally our pharmacy carries just as heavy a load and we have had to increase the number of staff in our pharmacy to meet the demand. This comes at an added cost. So we have followed practice outside of the hospital where a pharmacist fee for the pharmacist in doing his work of the patient is charged in addition to the very minimal fee that we already charge for the drugs. We only charge a dollar per item on our prescriptions and this goes nowhere to covering the cost of the drugs.”

There are further medical advancements in the pipeline for K.H.M.H.

Dr. Gary Longsworth

“The plan to build a new neonatal intensive care unit and to add into that project a pediatric intensive care unit which does not presently exist. This is a very large project. We are being assisted by Misses Kim Simplis Barrow and when this comes about, it will be like ten thousand additional square foot of space on the hospital compound with all the amenities and of course the additional cost of that type of service because that is the most labor intensive, technologically intensive type of service that you can get at this type of hospital.”

Although the hospital receives persons with any illness, Longsworth advices that persons with minor illness should visit the public health clinics for their health concerns. Duane Moody for News Five.

Channel 5

#449219 - 10/20/12 07:32 AM Re: K.H.M.H. explains fee for service [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

From Free Healthcare To Fee Healthcare

The KHMH is the national referral hospital for Belize - and recently we've documented their successes with open heart and spine surgeries.

But it doesn't come cheap - and most of the services at the hospital are heavily subsidized. But the free ride is over; the subsidies will remain, but the hospital is implementing new fees.

7news sat down with CEO Gary Longsworth who explained these minimal flat fees that go into effect November 1st.

Dr. Francis Gary Longsworth - CEO, KHMH
"Over the last several years we have done a great deal to improve the existing services at the KHMH and it that regard we've invested a lot in staffing, equipment and we have upgraded a lot of the procedures that we do and we've also gone into the expansion of services where we are looking at new areas of service and this includes cardiology; where we have now gone in the area of cardiac surgery and the attendant services of cardiac catheterization, echocardiography and so on."

"The same thing has happen in pediatrics; where the demand for pediatric intensive care unit has been on the table for a long time and thanks to help from the special envoy for children Mrs. Kim Slmplis Barrow, we have that project on the board now for full implementation and that will include building a NICU facility on the grounds of the Karl Heusner. When you take into consideration all that we've done so far in improving the existing services and the expansions that we have gone into and what we plan to do. This is setting the stage for Karl Heusner to be the premier institution for tertiary care in Belize."

"I think we've achieve a great deal already but we are not perfect and it will always be evolving in responds to need. That where we are and that bring attendant cost to the hospital. Our budget is never sufficient; we are regularly routinely under-budgeted at this hospital."

"Thankfully as a statutory organization revenue collection can augment our budget and that's the whole trust that we are going into now where in order to sustain what we've accomplish so far and in order to take it to the next level we need to improve our revenue collections to make up the short falls and that's the whole reasons for really re-introduction of the fees at accident and emergency and introduction of pharmacy fees to assist us in that area."

"The A & E is really for emergencies and anybody who has been there on a Friday or a Saturday night will tell you that we get a lot of major emergencies coming in. There is also a walk in trade that has become established at the Accident and Emergency and many of those people could really be better serve outside of the KHMH but they have their preferences and they get use to coming in for everything - they believe that the KHMH is the place to go. We are glad for that confidence in the institution but at the same time when the major emergencies are there it means that those people have to wait because they are none urgent. If they were to go to their public health facility they would get through there and be home in time and they wouldn't have to go through all the issues that happen in an accident and emergency department. So we are trying to encourage people, we are saying use your primary care facilities outside of the hospital. If you have to come then we are saying that we are going to charge a small administrative fee for the services that we offer to none urgent cases."

Longsworth also mentioned in his interview that no one will be refused services at the KHMH on the basis of inability to pay.

Channel 7


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