JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Hospital administrators are encouraging members of the public to pay user fees for services provided, noting that the charges were important in maintaining the network of public health facilities across the island.
  • Everton Anderson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James, told JIS News that user fees have become a critical part of the hospital's operational budget and have improved the hospital's ability to continue to improve services "beyond the expectation of clients".
  • As a result, he said the hospital has sought to surpass the collection target set by the Ministry of Health.

Hospital administrators are encouraging members of the public to pay user fees for services provided, noting that the charges were important in maintaining the network of public health facilities across the island.

Everton Anderson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St. James, told JIS News that user fees have become a critical part of the hospital’s operational budget and have improved the hospital’s ability to continue to improve services “beyond the expectation of clients”.

As a result, he said the hospital has sought to surpass the collection target set by the Ministry of Health. “The Western Region has done fairly well with the collection of fees. We are however, still trying to improve. We have met the Ministry’s target for collection but our target as a region was a little more than the Ministry’s target because we really want to offer the clients a lot more,” he told JIS News.

Patients, he continued, needed to appreciate the fact that the development of the hospital required funding, which was in part derived from clients paying the user fees. “The more patients contribute, the more we are able to make the services better for them,” he stated.

Despite the need for user fees, Mr. Anderson pointed out that the hospital had an “open door policy”, and as such, no Jamaican would be refused access to hospital services, if they could not pay. “We don’t turn away anybody,” he stressed.

“All administrators do whatever is necessary to make the patient happy. The major thing that we have embarked on is trying to be flexible with our clients, so appropriate arrangements are made and the persons can make the required payments,” Mr. Anderson added.

Gloria Robinson, CEO at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, expressed similar sentiments to JIS News, stating that the fees collected were critical in upgrading the services offered by the 40 year-old institution.

Since charting a new and innovative management in 2001, the CEO said that the collection of the fees had contributed significantly to the improvement of services including the upgrading of the X-ray and ophthalmology departments in 2002. The latter department has treated over 6,000 patients to date, while more than 120,000 X-rays were conducted since the upgrade.

“Our fees are part of the budget and if fees are not paid, the quality of care cannot be improved,” she pointed out. “It is sometimes very difficult to collect fees because you have to go through the process of explaining that fees are part of the budget, and that there is need to pay them, so that medical supplies and other sundries can also be purchased,” she added.