Insurance Companies to Pay for Services Delivered at Public Health Facilities

Photo: Sharon Earle Minister of Health, Hon. Horace Dalley, addresses the ceremony for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for upgrading of the Alexandria Community Hospital in St. Ann on Friday (Jan. 8).

Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, says health insurance companies will be required to pay for services delivered to their clients at public health facilities.
  • Minister Dalley said Government has been underwriting the entire cost of health care since 2007 when user fees were removed at hospitals and health centres.
  • He pointed out that a number of local private sector companies have come forward to establish similar partnership for the improvement of health services, following an appeal for assistance.

Health Minister, Hon. Horace Dalley, says health insurance companies will be required to pay for services delivered to their clients at public health facilities.

He made the announcement at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the upgrading of the Alexandria Community Hospital in St. Ann, held on the grounds of the facility on Friday (January 8).

Minister Dalley said Government has been underwriting the entire cost of health care since 2007 when user fees were removed at hospitals and health centres.

However, he pointed out, it is the health insurance providers that have been benefitting most from the policy, saving millions of dollars in payouts, and not the users for which it was intended.

“We are subsidising the (health) insurance companies; well that (has to stop). When you come to the (public) health facility, you are going to be asked, ‘do you have a health card.’ If you have health insurance… the health insurance company will have to pay their portion. Not from your pocket, we are not going to take your portion, we are going to take the insurance company portion to help the facility,” he explained.

“I am sure that no Jamaican will be against that…if Jamaicans know that they can get good service …they will pay …for the service…but we are going to start first with the insurance companies, the Health Minister said.

The MOU, which was signed with the Mind Body and Soul (MBS) Health Ministry and the Patel Foundation for Global Initiatives, is for the phase one upgrading of the Alexandria Hospital, which will include the establishment of state-of-the-art dental and pharmacy facilities at a cost of some US$250,000.

Maternal and diagnostic services will be improved under phase two of the project.

The Health Minister commended the United States entities for collaborating with the Government to improve health care delivery to Alexandria and surrounding communities.

He pointed out that a number of local private sector companies have come forward to establish similar partnership for the improvement of health services, following an appeal for assistance.

“This is what you call partnership… we have had many who have come on board and say ‘we want to help, we want to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem and the complaints’. I am happy to note that over 10 private sector companies have already sent to me to say, we will be coming on board with you. We want to take one of these operating theatres and we will fix it up and we will run it for you for the next two years,” he informed.

Meanwhile, Director of MBS Health Ministry, Horace Morgan, called on residents to take care of the facility when it is completed.

He said that the aim is to provide a “top of the line” medical facility and service, and users must play their role in its maintenance.

“We are trying to make it a one-stop-shop and we are trying to make it affordable, so it’s going to be either cheap or free. We have to maintain the equipment, we have to ensure that it is there for a long time, so there might be a minimal cost, not to make profit but to maintain the equipment there,” he pointed out.

JIS Social