JIS News

Health Minister, John Junor has disclosed that user fees at hospitals are to be adjusted by the end of this month.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Junor said the Ministry’s 2004/05 budget was predicated on the increase in user fees, as was announced by the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davis during that budget presentation.
“We postponed the implementation of the new fees because, it would have come in August [last year] but, we sincerely felt that with the school year, we did not want to add a burden.then came Hurricane Ivan and we had to postpone it again,” Minister Junor explained.
“However, we will be implementing the new fee schedule towards the end of January and the announcement for that will be made shortly,” he added. In light of the increasing cost of financing health care, user fees have become increasingly critical in maintaining the nation’s premier hospitals.
In fact, user fees have now become a part of hospital budgets so much so that, health care institutions such as the Kingston Public Hospital and Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James have set targets for collection, in order to meet the shortfall from their normal budgets.
The adjustment in fees, which was last done over six years ago, will go a long way in ensuring the improvement in health care delivery, a goal that most hospitals continually strive to achieve on an ongoing basis.
Despite the need for user fees it has been reported that most hospitals have an “open door policy”, which means that, no Jamaican will be refused access to hospital services.

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