Health Minister Welcomes Reduction in Fees at HIC

Photo: Dave Reid Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (centre), inside one of the two specialised cardiac ambulances donated to the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC), by the Government of Japan. This was during a ceremony held on March 20 at the HIC’s offices on Balmoral Avenue, St. Andrew. Others pictured (from left) are Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, His Excellency Hiromasa Yamazaki; and Chairman of the HIC, Dr. Earnest Madu.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has welcomed the decision by the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) to reduce the fees for two major procedures at the institution, for patients coming from the public healthcare system.
  • “We appreciate any effort to enhance the human capacity that is clearly associated with this very important institution,” Dr. Tufton said.
  • In addition, Patients from any public hospital or the UHWI in need of a pacemaker only need to pay for the cost of the pacemaker equipment, consumables and materials needed for the procedure.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has welcomed the decision by the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) to reduce the fees for two major procedures at the institution, for patients coming from the public healthcare system.

He said the move represents a policy by the Government to not have persons “left behind,” due to lack of money.

“We appreciate any effort to enhance the human capacity that is clearly associated with this very important institution,” Dr. Tufton said.

Under the initiative, patients from any public hospital or the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) who are in need of an angiogram will only need to pay $75,000 for the procedure and $50,000 to the doctor, plus nominal fees for consumables. This represents a fraction of the usual and customary charges for this procedure.

In addition, Patients from any public hospital or the UHWI in need of a pacemaker only need to pay for the cost of the pacemaker equipment, consumables and materials needed for the procedure.

The HIC Foundation will pay for the use of the catheterisation lab or operating room, doctors’ fees and other technical charges on behalf of the patients.

The Health Minister was speaking at the handover of two specialised cardiac ambulances at a ceremony held at the Heart Institute of the Caribbean’s Balmoral Avenue offices on March 20.

The ambulances were procured at a cost of $10 million under the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project.

Minister Tufton also commended the Government and people of Japan for donating the vehicles to the Institute. He said that Japan has given consistent support to the public and private health institutions in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the HIC, Dr. Ernest Madu, said the reduction in fees was a response to the Minister’s call for a public-private sector partnership to address the healthcare needs of the population.

“We embrace that call, as it is in line with what HIC has done over the last 13 years,” Dr. Madu said.

He added that an appropriate linkage with Jamaica’s public hospital would see more persons benefiting from increased access to affordable cardiovascular care.

“We look forward to a more robust partnership with the Ministry of Health,” the Chairman added.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Japan to Jamaica, His Excellency, Hiromasa Yamazaki, said the ambulances will serve the needs of all patients who will access cardiovascular treatment and care services at HIC locations in Mandeville as well as Montego Bay.

“Patients from the other parishes of St. Elizabeth, Clarendon, Trelawny, Hanover, and Westmoreland, will also have access on a much wider scale,” the Ambassador stated.

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