Doctors employed with the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) have reportedly been operating outside the public health system by privately offering clients the same services as those they perform at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital.
Speaking in the House of Assembly recently, Health Minister Carvin Malone said the phenomenon is not new. And while seemingly frowning upon the practice, he told the House it’s something with which his ministry continues to contend.
“This is one of the things that past ministers of health have come to grip with,” the minister said. “Doctors within the system [have been] going out and offering services outside the system … although the hospital – the institution for which they work – offers the same service.”
At the time, the Health Minister was responding to questions on whether the BVIHSA’s doctors offered optional concierge services for persons requiring PCR testing for COVID
With the concierge service, persons can call the BVIHSA and request for the hospital come to them. But Malone suggested that BVIHSA physicians have, effectively, been circumventing the system by purchasing the test kits from the hospital, conducting the tests in a private capacity, then collect their fee.
The test sample would still be brought back to the hospital which charges an additional $75 to analyse the sample.
“I’m told one or two doctors that work there – well almost all of them now – have their private practices and then they offer the service and they sell to the particular client all their services and purchase the testing from the laboratory of the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital,” the minister explained.
He said this typically happens for clients who do not want to utilise the hospital’s walk-in option.