HSA pays its way through improved efficiencies
(CNS): The local health service is becoming increasingly efficient, the health minister stated on Thursday evening as he opened the third Cayman Islands Healthcare 20/20 National Conference. Reviewing recent developments at the local public hospital, Mark Scotland told delegates that new payment systems had resulted in a reduction by a quarter of the HSA’s overheads. The minister said that after years of struggle, the HSA had at last become self-supporting as a result of the various measures it had implemented. Improved billing and collection, greater operational efficiencies and economies of scale in procurement and service mean the organisation no longer requires an annual government subsidy, he added.
“And all this came while we refurbished the three operating theatres at George Town Hospital, then added a fourth, upgraded the Eye Clinic and also renovated Cayman Brac’s Faith Hospital,” the minister said as he lauded the work of the service.
He explained that the efficiencies around bill payment, such as the new Real Time Adjudication System where a simple swipe of a card determines a patient’s levels of eligibility and coverage, had removed time-consuming guesswork and form-filling. This in conjunction with CINICO’s CarePay System across the authority’s facilities had dramatically reduced inefficiencies.
The HSA has also created an online payment system and an Internal Audit committee to develop standard procurement practices, increase billing and collection rates, ensure efficient delivery and gain appropriate payment, the minister said.
Alongside better financial control, the minister pointed to a number of other developments in local healthcare paving the way for a fitter nation. He said the CayHealth initiative had “devolved responsibility for healthcare to individuals and district clinics, assigning particular physicians to particular patients, ensuring not just continuity and efficiency of care, but also of consultation and treatment."
Scotland also spoke about legislative developments that he said would have a significant impact on local healthcare, especially insurance cover.
“We will bring amendments to the Health Insurance Law and its regulations to the Legislative Assembly on 5 November,” he revealed. “The proposed changes will increase the minimum level of benefits prescribed in the Standard Health Insurance Cover, ensuring that people under the plan have adequate resources. They will also introduce several new elements, including a wellness benefit, increased outpatient benefits, and cover for mental health.”
He also indicated that the long awaited first Human Tissue Transplant Bill, making organ transplants and donations easier, was under review and he hoped to table the bill early in the New Year. Pointing to the development of the National Health Policy which identifies nine strategic directions for health in Cayman, he said that bill would go to the Legislative Assembly next year.
With Dr Devi Shetty’s Health City breaking ground in East End, Scotland said the first phase was expected to be open by around this time next year.
Welcoming the delegates, sponsors and speakers from home and abroad to the conference, which has attracted a record breaking number of guests, the minister revealed that the success of the event meant that the costs were almost all absorbed by the private sector.
The conference theme is “Patient Centred Care” and continues through until Saturday lunch time at the Ritz Carlton. Entrance to the event is free and there are a range of local and international speakers making presentations, as well as several specific break-out sessions on a range of subjects from autism to workplace wellness.
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