Health minister details payments to Brown
Businesses affected by the new tax on sugary products will not qualify for compensation the way providers of high-tech medical scans did, MPs have been told.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said that businesses had been given advance notice of the new tax, but those that offered diagnostic imaging had been hit “without consultation and warning”.
The news came as the minister gave a breakdown in the House of Assembly on payments to Ewart Brown, a former premier and a doctor, and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, after fees for MRI and CT scans were slashed last year. Ms Wilson said Dr Brown’s Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget was given $680,966 between December last year and May.
The Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s, Dr Brown’s other practice, got a total of $139,151 in five payments over the same period. The Bermuda Hospitals Board was compensated to the tune of $1.863 million in nine payments from December 2017 to March 2018. The details were released in response to parliamentary questions on Friday from Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the shadow health minister.
Payments were calculated by the Bermuda Health Council, using information from the providers and details from insurance companies. Ms Wilson said the Government had drawn a line on payments to businesses hit by the sugar tax, which came into effect on October 1.
She added: “There was public consultation before the decision was made and businesses had time to prepare. This does not compare to the fees that were imposed without warning or consultation on diagnostic imaging.”
Ms Gordon-Pamplin told the House that information on diagnostic imaging changes had been provided by officials who were “intimately involved at the time”.
Dr Brown, who shut down the CT scanning unit at the Brown Darrell Clinic earlier this year, has maintained that the scanning fees were cut without any consultation.