New hospital is like some in the United States, says NHI

The original article can be found in: BVI News Online

Words of comfort are emerging from the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme in response to persons who have been raising concerns about the quality of healthcare likely to be available locally when the NHI takes effect.

NHI boss Roy Barry, on the weekend, stated that he visited the New Peebles Hospital on Tortola last week Friday, and found it to be like many in Panama and the United States.

“I must say it is excellent, and it reminded us of facilities that we have visited in Panama as well as in the US.”

Barry, who was a guest on the “Speak Your Mind” television programme, further stated that his observation of the territory’s only hospital is probably shared by his NHI colleague Kishma Baronville.

“We had the opportunity of walking through the new hospital and I am sure Ms. Baronville echo the same sentiments that I would echo; it is a state-of-the-art facility,” he bragged.

“I am not going to say because it is a state-of-the-art facility it is going to be great. We must ensure that we have the right human resource setting to facilitate the infrastructure that is there.”

As it relate to human resource, Barry said steps are being taken to secure additional deals with overseas healthcare providers.

He noted that talks are ongoing between the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) which manages Peebles Hospital as well as Baptist Hospital in Miami, United States. Barry also referred to the contract already signed with HIMA Hospital out of Puerto Rico.

“As we know, Health Services Authority has already partnered with HIMA, and currently they are in the process of seeking to partner with Baptist Hospital out of Miami. They (Baptist) should be visiting the BVI in the very near future to assist with the transition.”

Barry further stated that the BVIHSA is examining the possibility of having more doctors come into the BVI to perform surgeries instead of sending patients abroad.

“Sometimes it might be cheaper to fly a doctor here for procedure versus flying the patient out; and that’s part of the plan,” he said, adding that patients will also get the chance to be closer to their loved-ones.

Barry also stated that he did not know when the new hospital and the NHI will become operational, but he noted that efforts are underway to have them come on stream at the same time. The implementation date for each of the projects has been delayed.

Besides being delayed for years, the new hospital project also over-shot its initial budget and – up to recently – had gobbled up a total of approximately $100m.

In April of this year, Premier Dr. D. Orlando Smith also disclosed that the New Peebles Hospital accounted for 83.73% of the national debt of the British Virgin Islands.

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