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Health care revamp is progressing DeSilva

Progress has been made in revamping Bermuda's health care industry, Health Minister Zane DeSilva has said.

It was stated at a recent health care financing summit that 34 percent of 104 recommendations from a 1996 examination of the Island's health care system had been completed.

Mr DeSilva told MPs that the 1996 Oughton Report was followed by the Arthur Anderson Report in 1998. The latter report condensed the 104 recommendations into seven broad recommendations.

Progress had been made on many of those recommendations, Mr DeSilva said during Friday's House of Assembly.

One recommendation was to promote the use of alternative and preventive care.

Mr DeSilva said preventive care had been a big priority, with the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre built to provide an alternative urgency care unit to east end residents.

A second recommendation was to develop partnerships with overseas health care providers. Mr DeSilva said the Bermuda Hospitals Board has partners including the Lahey Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Howard University.

A third recommendation was to implement disease management and prevention programmes.

“Open Airways and the Department of Health have developed an asthma management programme which has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the management of asthma in our community,” Mr DeSilva said. “The number of visits to the Emergency Department for asthma has decreased and the quality of life of asthma patients has increased.”

He added that the Health Department has worked with private doctors on a programme for diabetics.

The fourth recommendation, to address physician-owned ancillary services and equipment, is currently being examined by the Bermuda Health Council.

Suggestions were also made in 1998 to develop a universal billing format and evaluate reimbursement methodologies.

Mr DeSilva said the BHB had recently made real progress in this area.

“The hospital has changed the way that it bills, moving from a per diem method of billing to the use of diagnostic related groups,” he said.

“The insurers have been working with the private physicians to standardise the documents for submitting claims and to use common procedure terminology codes to bill for services.

“While we haven't completely cracked this nut, we have come a long way progress is being made.”

The final recommendation, to create a central data repository for all health care data, is in the works he said.

“The former Health Minister Walter Roban tasked the Health Council with laying the groundwork for the implementation of an electronic health record. The development of the new hospital will take us a step closer to making this a reality, as this will give us the opportunity to develop an electronic medical record which can then be expanded to an electronic health record.”

Mr DeSilva said he was looking forward to more progress being made in the health care industry.

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Published December 06, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm)

Health care revamp is progressing DeSilva

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