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Lack of payments causing problems

regionalantiguahospitalST. JOHN’S — Communications Manager of Mount St John’s Medical Centre said a lack of payments to the hospital from the government is causing “significant challenges” to its operations.

Salma Crump said government and the Medical Benefits Scheme, by agreement, should pay millions to the hospital on a monthly basis.

“The hospital should be getting $3 million from the government every month, and we get $1 million from MBS,” Crump said.

“Currently, I would say for the last 12 months or so, we have been only getting about $2.5 million in total. So you can see where the significant shortfall is.”

She added: “You hear the minister of finance talking about significant challenges from the government stand point. I think any other organisation that depends on (government) to some extent would feel some of that.”

The spokesperson said one of the hospital’s operations affected by the cash flow problem includes payroll obligations. It was reported in both January and February that MSJMC was unable to meet its fortnightly wages on time.

The communications manager said purchasing capital equipment and providing services have also been affected.

“Sometimes we may cut back on some services on an outpatient basis only,” she said.

“At some point we have to set priorities and, for the people who are in the hospital, they become our priority. So whatever we have, we have to make sure that we have it available to the people in the hospital as patients.”

Crump pointed out that the hospital’s other expenses included the proper maintenance of the equipment and the building and property. (Antigua Observer)

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