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Physicians consulted about benefit changes

Physicians are being asked for their ideas on changes to the benefits under the Standard Hospital Benefit, Bermuda’s basic health insurance package.

Alterations to the SHB caught widespread public attention after the health ministry proposed switching mammography coverage over to more stringent guidelines.

The move was dropped after widespread criticism.

Further changes to the SHB are planned to take effect in April 2016, and the Bermuda Health Council has asked for eligible healthcare providers to give their proposals.

An SHB review committee has been tasked with prioritising the treatment of specific non-communicable chronic illness, end-of-life care and secondary prevention, which is the treatment of a disease or injury that has already occurred, in order to improve patient outcomes, contain insurance premiums and reduce healthcare costs.

Proposals have been requested in the following categories:

• Foot care for diabetic patients at risk for amputation;

• Evidence-based steps for chronic kidney disease to prevent or at least delay dialysis;

• Similar processes for cardiovascular disease, to prevent or delay heart attacks and stroke;

• Post-acute care after neurological events or injuries;

• Palliative and end-of-life care in home or hospice settings;

• Non-invasive vascular screening to reduce potentially damaging scans;

• Evidence-based implantation of cardiac defibrillators on the Island, to cut down on referrals overseas.

Details, including eligibility and assessment criteria, are available on the Bermuda Health Council’s website. Completed applications are due by August 23. Final decisions on benefit changes will be made once the impact on premiums has been determined.

Successful candidates should be notified by September 23, and approvals in principal will be made by March of next year. The Council is to hold an information session for prospective applicants on July 20, at 5.15pm, at its main office on Wesley Street, Hamilton.