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BHB staff bill rises to almost $200m

The Bermuda Hospitals Board has made public its unaudited financial information for the past three years, revealing that its annual salary bill has risen to almost $200 million.

A statement from the board said that between 2017 and 2019, salaries and benefits, including overtime and casual staff costs, as well as regular salaries, rose 3 per cent from $188.7 million to $194.3 million.

The statement said: “Comparing the three full fiscal years between 2017 and 2019, total revenue rose from $324.7 million to $329.8 million between fiscal year 2017 and 2019, a rise of $5.1 million or 1.5 per cent over three years.

“The dip in revenue for 2018 represents a one-off $25 million cut in hospital subsidy.

“Total expenses rose from $316.8 million to $329 million over this time period, representing $13 million or 3.9 per cent in total.

“A substantial increase was experienced in repairs and maintenance, which increased from $18.9 million to $26.9 million, which is 42 per cent or $8 million.

“This reflects the increasing cost of keeping the ageing King Edward VII Memorial Hospital general wing and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute facilities safe for patient care.”

The statement added: “In the fiscal years 2017 to 2019, BHB revenue was substantially made up of fee-for-service charges, with the addition of a MWI grant and a partial grant for long-term care.

“In June 2019, BHB moved to a fixed government grant of $322 million.”

The board was criticised last week in Parliament by independent senator James Jardine for failing to release audited financial statements to the public for the past five years.

Auditor-General Heather Thomas told The Royal Gazette that the quango was one of 29 publicly funded bodies whose financial statements were in arrears.

Yesterday's statement from the hospitals board said: “BHB is releasing internal management accounts data from fiscal year 2017, up to and including the third quarter of fiscal year 2019, the latest quarter available.

“These represent the data shared with staff and the board, but are unaudited.

“BHB will continue to provide internal management accounts data quarterly and update information online, as BHB does with its quarterly posting of quality patient safety data, annual plan of projects, statistics by fiscal year, and patient satisfaction data by fiscal year.”

She said the board's website provided further statistics, details of projects and strategy documents.

The spokeswoman noted that the BHB published a clinical services plan in 2018 to “address improving the health and care of Bermuda's community, with better community management of chronic illness, and a stronger safety net after discharge, to reduce the need for expensive hospital services”.

She said it had also developed a financial recovery plan to manage the $25 million cut in hospital subsidy in the financial year 2017-18.

The board is pursuing legal action to keep the six-figure salaries of its top executives a secret after the Information Commissioner ordered it to disclose the total cost of each position, within $10,000 bands.

To view data from the Bermuda Hospitals Board's unaudited accounts, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

Update: this story has been amended to show that the increase in BHB's spending on repairs and maintenance over the three-year period was 42 percent, not 4.2 percent, as the board had stated. BHB has provided a corrected version of its statement, which can be found under Related Media.

William Madeiros, chairman of the Bermuda Hospitals Board (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published February 19, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated February 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm)

BHB staff bill rises to almost $200m

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