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.
“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.