BVIHSA CEO Responds To Private Clinic Owner’s Comments
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA), Dr. Ronald Georges announced during a radio interview on Monday that he is not aware of any effort to discourage patients from utilizing the Cathlab that is located at the Bougainvillea Clinic, as was suggested by the Medical Director of the Clinic, Dr. Heskith Vanterpool at an event that was held last Saturday, October 26.
During the gathering to celebrate the first anniversary of the cardiological facility, Dr. Vanterpool said, “There is a group of mercenaries walking up and down through the Peebles Hospital and picking up cardiac patients, discouraging them from coming to Bougainvillea Cath lab or Bougainvillea services, and sending them to the United States, offering to save this country money. They have certainly not been saving any money. For a simple phone call, they are charging exorbitant prices,” Dr Vanterpool said.
In stating his unhappiness about the situation, the Medical Director said, “The leader of this group is not even a medical practitioner, but walks up and down in Peebles Hospital where I pay my taxes to maintain, and I believe it is wrong. I believe that the governments, politicians, various parties of this country should support what we are trying to do here rather than breaking it down. It’s not a NDP, it’s not a VIP thing. I have seen it over the years where people have been obstructing the local people who are developing the services and want to bring people in who are from outside. I think it is wrong. I call upon the politicians, current and past.”
However, Georges while speaking on ZBVI on October 29, explained that the BVIHSA has an arrangement with another entity to provide cardiology services and that this is usually an option for patients. The CEO explained that Medical Services, BVI Incorporated (MS BVI) has a contract with the BVI Health Services Authority to provide cardiology services.
“They went through the process of developing their services. At this time, they have a clinic and they have visiting cardiologists who see patients at the BVI Health Service Authority. I suspect that is what Dr. Vanterpool is referring to.”
As it relates to Dr. Vanterpool’s claim that persons walk around BVIHSA discouraging people, Dr. Georges said that he is unaware.
“I can’t comment on them being mercenaries or walking up and down and charging people exorbitant rates. I can’t really comment on that. What I can say is that that company does have visiting cardiologists that provide cardiology services. They don’t have a cath lab at the BVIHSA and they have arrangements with some overseas providers to whom they refer patients.”
Further, Dr. Georges noted that the National Health Insurance (NHI) is usually the organization that decides where patients go, not the BVIHSA, and he also noted that cost is not always the deciding factor.
“NHI makes the decision on where the patients go for different kinds of services. If somebody is in the BVI and they require something that’s available wherever it’s available, usually a referral is made to NHI and NHI would weigh the cost and the capability of the provider, and based on that, NHI would then make a decision as to where they send.”
“For example, if NHI decides that they’re going to send somebody overseas to do an investigation that is available here, that could be for many reasons. It could be that – one it’s a cost factor, two – it could be that they looked at the particular condition and they decided that the more competent provider for that service in terms of that patient was an overseas provider,” Dr. Georges explained.
Additionally, the CEO stated that patient choice and extensive service options also play a role is the decision to send a patient overseas.
“When you’re looking at highly advanced services, sometimes it is not to say that because you have a service that you could take all clients. Maybe there are some clients who are suitable to be seen in your services or maybe the clients need to be seen in a service which has more capability. For example, if NHI is making a decision as to where they want someone to go–there are two aspects to it-persons need to have choice.”
“You don’t necessarily want to have a situation where you have a monopoly where people don’t have choice. I understand Dr. Vanterpool’s point that it cost a lot of money to set up a service like that, but the choice is one aspect of it. The second aspect is because you have a service it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can see all clients. There may be some clients that may be complicated and require additional services which you may not be able to provide; so all of that factors into the decision from NHI’s perspective as to where they send what client,” he added.