QEH zeros in on non-national defaulters

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) is in somewhat of quandary regarding future treatment of non-nationals, reporting that 66 per cent have left their bill unpaid after receiving treatment at the health care institution.

Director of Financial Services Andrea Belle today revealed of the S7.5 million in bills issued by the hospital for services rendered, non-nationals incurred 70 per cent. She explained that only 34 per cent of the non-national patients have paid their bill compared to 90 per cent of locals.

“This means for every dollar that we bill, we receive only 34 cents on those billings.  Our nationals on the other hand in private care have a 90 per cent collection rate,” Belle said during the question and answer section of an ethics symposium at the hospital’s auditorium.

The symposium grappled with the question of the QEH’s duty of care to patients with non-regularized immigrant status, as well as the controversial issue of whether or not treatment should be at the discretionary
non-resident rate.

Back in February last year, concerns were raised about the fee structure at the state-run QEH, in particular how it affected Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals seeking treatment at the island’s main hospital.

Trade policy researcher Kai Anne Skeete warned then that the island could find itself in legal hot water with the Caribbean Court of Justice, in light of the Shanique Myrie case in which the Jamaican national successful sued the Barbados Government for infringement of her CARICOM rights.

This was a position that received some support for Attorney General Adriel Braithwaite, who commented briefly to Barbados TODAY when concerns were raised back in February, that the island must adhere to the CARICOM Treaty of Chaguaramas, which prohibits discrimination against citizens of the 15-nation grouping, based on their nationality.

“If this is the case, then they [QEH administration] have to look at it again. I am sure they have their legal people advising them, but we have to adhere to the Treaty, because we signed onto it,” he said then.

10 Responses to QEH zeros in on non-national defaulters

  1. Saga Boy August 31, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    It’s simple bill their respective governments unless the CARICOM treaty says otherwise.

    • hcalndre September 1, 2017 at 7:40 am

      “Bill the respective Governments.” Saga Boy says. Then countries like the US, Canada and Britain should bill Barbados especially the US where undocumented bajans have surgeries and deliveries. People should not be turned away from QEH in emergencies because they are not bajans. The CCJ is there to keep places like Barbados in line if not the Jamaican national would have been kicked out and nothing would ever be heard of the case.

  2. Samantha Best September 1, 2017 at 5:48 am

    While QEH is checking on non-nationals please remember to check those Consultants who do not see one public patient in spite of the fact that the QEH, and by extension, the tax payers of Barbados pays them. This is unscrupulous. No public surgeries are undertaken by them; they do not see them in clinic. The burden is thrust upon those who have a conscience. Mind you it’s not all the Consultants who do this. Therefore please investigate those who are paid for doing nothing. Remember you are cutting cost!

  3. BIGSKY September 1, 2017 at 6:02 am

    You have non nationals paying the same taxes as everyone else so I don/t think what you are doing is right.

  4. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 1, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Simple question did these politicians and they cronies not read and understand these treaties before signing them,damm going all over the world signing but yet only realizing restrictions and limitations after.Looks like a bunch of idiots were signing these documents and now Barbados stuck with the real reality of what they were about..

  5. Greengiant September 1, 2017 at 7:41 am

    @Saga Boy; It’s even more simple. Charge for the critical care services generally, and let everyone pay for them. Our social services will foot the bill for locals who can’t afford, while the ambassadors for the regional governments will have to sign off for their nationals, and pay in default.

    @BIGSKY; few of the regional nationals working here pay NIS or PAYE. They may pay retail related taxes, but not the social responsibility taxes. So maybe the government can now allow the NIS card to be used for the purpose of obtaining social services. Then those non nationals who are paying their way can receive their entitlement.

    This country was build on those contributions, and unless we can find an adequate replacement, they must be paid by all workers in Barbados. Problem is the last administration encouraged the break down of that system, so now we are found wanting. Remember the then PM bragging that his house was built by illegal Caricom nationals? Well obviously they weren’t paying contributions. So if the leader of the country did it and publicly announced it, then that was a license for the big, medium and small project people to do the same. The country is being robbed blind by the business community, and they’re using our Caricom nationals to achieve their desired result. So don’t blame the Caricom workers, blame those who employ them, and the former B L P administration who planted the seed.

  6. Immigrant 28 years here September 1, 2017 at 8:35 am

    @greengiant..”few of the regional nationals working here pay NIS or PAYE. ” hogwash! A non-nayional with immigrant or resident status pays ALL the same taxes….ALL and until a couple years ago they could acess the facilities for free….in my community there are MANY who have been here for 20+ years as immigrants and have paid ALL the same taxes for those years….

    If you are going to speak on something you should try to speak from a place of knowledge …

  7. North poiint September 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I believe that health care must be given to every one whether they can pay or not pay. I was in the USA and I fell sick and I was taken care of.

  8. Tony Waterman September 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    @Saga Boy!!!! There is NOTHING in the Treaty of Chaguaramas, that says we or any caricom has to give FREE health care to Caricom Residents.
    Funny how we always seem to get it ALL Wrong, in The USA the first Question(s) are abouit what kind of Health Care Protection one has (Private health Insurance, etc) and if you have NONE you are sent to a Madicare/Medicade Hospital, and the same thing actually happens in Barbados, if you have no way to Pay the Private hospitals in Barbados, you are sent to the QEH.
    So!!! How is it that they Treat Foreigners at the QEH First, and then try to Collect Fees, is that Not Holding the Bull by the Tail, and then Complaining when it swings around and Butt you ???

    @Saga Boy!!! You just cant Bill the respective Governments, if the Patient was NOT sent there for Treatment by them, and even so, there would have to be some type of written Agreement, backed up by a Purchase order from The respective Government for Treatment for each Patient sent to Barbados for Treatment.

    There should be a RULE about how Foreigners WILL be Treated in Barbados, Payment UP Front for Services to be Rendered, or NO, Service, let them got to one of the Private Hospitals and see what happens.

    @Rawle Spooner!!!! This is NOT,NOT Covered under The Revised Treaty of Chaguramas.
    @hcalndre!!!!! How come the CCJ does not get to rule on What T&T does, seems to me that the Aliens know who to Attack. and that is because we are not as smart as we think we are.

  9. Alex Alleyne September 1, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Barbados just go out there and sign things head down like a bill. Do these people read “the fine print” ?. All countries must treat all people when sick in their country to get them back on their feet.
    Collecting monies is another matter. CARICOM must take care of each other. This is where a CARICOM ID card is necessary.
    In the Caribbean there will always be problems from top to bottom because the leaders think only of SELF and don’t the real CARICOM.
    Just check out LIAT……..what a mess.


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