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Two major insurers back legislation

Argus CEO Alison Hill

Insurers have welcomed legislation aimed at tightening oversight of healthcare services and high-tech equipment.

The Bermuda Health Council Amendment Act 2016 has been criticised by physicians as onerous — but the measures yesterday won the endorsement of two major insurers.

Alison Hill, the chief executive officer of Argus Group, told The Royal Gazette that it “fully” backed the legislation as advocates for patient care and safety.

Ms Hill said the legislation offered regulations and safeguards through the introduction of patient safety laws. She added: “These laws protect the public by enhancing the oversight of healthcare facilities and by ensuring that the public is protected from avoidable harms.”

The targeting of the importation and use of technologies deemed high-risk has had a mixed reception since the idea was first introduced in December 2013.

Health minister Jeanne Atherden stuck to her guns through Opposition criticism of the legislation, telling MPs that excessive use of diagnostic testing continued to plague the island’s healthcare system.

Offering his company’s support, John Wight, president and CEO of BF&M, said the insurer backed all initiatives “aimed at protecting patients’ safety through the effective regulation of health service facilities, technology, and utilisation of testing equipment”.

“Further, BF&M endorses the protection of patients from the physical and financial risks that can be associated with unnecessary medical testing.

“Unnecessary testing is one of the causes of unsustainable costs in our healthcare system, with few if any measurably improved health or life expectancy outcomes.”