No review of InterHealth Canada contract until 2015

The original article can be found in: Turks & Caicos Weekly News
MINISTER for Health and Human Services, Porsha Stubbs-Smith, told the House of Assembly on Tuesday (July 2) that the controversial InterHealth Canada contract cannot be reviewed until 2015.
Stubbs-Smith’s report followed a question by the Member for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay, Edwin Astwood.
He asked: “Will the Minister be pleased to update this House on the status of the review of the InterHealth Canada contract with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, and if there has been any progress, how will the findings from this review be used?”
She explained that the agreement made provision for the contract to be reviewed after the first five years.
According to her, the contract was made effective in April 2010 and as per the agreement will be subject to review in April 2015.
Earlier reports put the date of the contract being signed two years earlier, in 2008.
Former Governor Gordon Wetherell signed the contract in late 2008, following negotiations and decisions made by then Health Minister Lillian Boyce, Finance Minister Floyd Hall and Director of Medical Services, Dr. Rufus Ewing.
Under the contract, the one major action taken in the year mentioned by the Minister was the establishment of the National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP), which was done in April 2010.
At that time, as per the contract, Ewing, as Medical Services Director, had the responsibility for managing primary care in the TCI, while InterHealth Canada took over the responsibility for hospital management and secondary care.
The Member for Grand Turk South and Salt Cay pointed out that the promise made by the current administration to the people of the Islands was to review the contract, not wait for five years.
Stubbs-Smith told the House that a contract management team is currently in place conducting financial and clinical audits of the operations of InterHealth Canada.
The last word on the audits was that they were still incomplete.
Premier, Dr. Rufus Ewing, at a press conference in mid-June said the delay, as he understood it, was due to the lack of financial information being turned over from the hospital.
However, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, Jill Magri, told the Weekly News at the time that there was only a small percentage of information pending from the hospital’s side.
“We have provided all 2012 and 2011 information and are in the process of providing the financial data from 2011,” she said.
Neither she nor Ewing could commit to a timeframe for the completion of the audits.
The long due audits were only started this year, sometime around mid-February.
Last October, the Premier noted that InterHealth Canada could have to forfeit on their contract with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), if it is found that they have breached performance clauses – something the financial and clinical audits will assess.
The full document, which included 187 separate files and a mind boggling 7,665 pages, was leaked in August last year.
The result of the contract was two two-storey hospitals – one in Provo with 20 beds and the other in Grand Turk with 10 beds that came at a high cost to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The ‘exit clause’ in the InterHealth Canada contract is reported to have penalty cost of $125 million, exclusive of the $125 million mortgage on the hospital buildings, which has a reported 12 per cent interest rate.
If the mortgage runs its full 24-year course, the buildings will have cost TCI residents half a billion dollars.

 

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