No fee rise at hospital
Bermuda Hospitals Board has announced there will be no increase in fees for the island's hospitals for the year 2016/17.
The arrangement is not without challenges, a statement said this afternoon: increasing numbers of patients are turning up both King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness institute.
However, releasing its end-of-year fiscal report for 2015/16, BHB said the lack of fee rise came about following “three years of concerted efforts to become more efficient”. It compares with a 1 per cent rise in each of the two previous fiscal years.
According to a statement, highlights for the fiscal year 2015/16 also include:
• completion of a six-month strategic planning process for the entire BHB that received stakeholder input from 300 staff and 50 external stakeholders;
• costs associated with the new Acute Care Wing fully were fully absorbed for the first full fiscal year of payments
• BHB is in a more stable financial position to invest in its own infrastructure and services, and work in partnership with others to improve community health.
Chairman Peter Everson stated: “For some time now, BHB has been working hard to manage very high capacity in both the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.
“For patients at KEMH, this has caused a number of challenges, including longer waits than usual for admission to a bed from, for example, the Emergency or Surgery Department.
“We recognise that the wait for a bed is very frustrating. At MWI, staff members are under increasing pressure as numbers of people seeking help continues to rise, including seniors who have dementia-related disorders.
“An immense amount of work is carried out every day and night to keep services running. I would like to thank all staff who are part of this 24/7 process of discharge and admission, caring, treatment and support. But the pressure on staff is not sustainable, nor is the patience of our community.”
Mr Everson said the increase in service use was largely down to the “ageing and increasingly ill population we care for, individuals choosing to use Emergency rather than their doctors in the community, vulnerable groups whose medical and mental health chronic conditions are not managed optimally, and the shortage of appropriate services for our seniors, especially those with dementia-related disorders”.
He continued: “This rise in service demand pressures BHB to increase capacity and drives up costs despite fee rises being well below inflation for many years.
“With this in mind, BHB completed a strategic planning process that embraced internal and external stakeholder feedback from 350 individuals earlier this year.
“Summed up in the new vision: Exceptional Care. Strong Partnerships. Healthy Community, the strategy seeks to set the direction to address key concerns around quality and health.
“Key projects include improving patient flow through and between BHB, MWI and the community, working collaboratively to increase long term care placement availability in Bermuda, helping vulnerable groups improve and manage their chronic diseases, and strengthening relationships and partnerships with community providers and overseas hospitals to benefit access to quality care.”
Mr Everson said that strategy would address critical issues impacting patient experience, including reducing delays as patients move through and out of the hospital, and dealing with unexpected issues that arise where the new strategy requires us to put patients first.
“Examples of unexpected issues include improving diagnostic imaging reporting times,” he said.
“We had noticed our turnaround times had increased over the summer and this has triggered an internal review to look at all the processes, staffing and current systems that are involved in getting a diagnostic imaging test read, reported on and to physicians and patients.
“Right now, we have adapted processes, and are increasing administrative and systems support to address the increase in turnaround time.
“But in keeping true to our new strategy of being patient-focused, the review has highlighted a number of longer term improvements that can be made that will give patients access to their own results as they are posted.
“There are no quick fixes to improving community health and hospital services, and BHB recognises it is part of a healthcare system that requires the involvement of providers, organisations and the community.
“A new, more collaborative way of working is required. The issues we face are complex and require us to listen as much as we talk, and to collaborate and co-operate with other providers as much as we compete. A community event is being planned for late in the fall.”
Mr Everson added: “While the release of our 2011/12 annual report in July was a positive step forward to getting our financial statements up to date, we will continue to share our unaudited results on a six monthly basis.”
• To see the strategic plan for 2016 to 2021, visit: www.bermudahospitals.bm/bhb/about-us/mission.asp
• For the unaudited financial statements for 2015-16, visit: www.bermudahospitals.bm/Admin/WFPublication/Uploaded/512_File_5.pdf