Reports reveal millions of public $$ unaccounted for

| 11/01/2011

(CNS): Despite having spent millions of dollars from the public purse between 2004-2007, the Health Services Authority is unable to account for any of it as a result of the major problems it has faced over its financial records. On Monday morning the annual reports for the financial years 2004-07 were tabled in the Legislative Assembly by the health minister, illustrating the reality of what government’s ongoing financial reporting problem means to the people of Cayman. On top of the millions of dollars paid from the public purse bygovernment to purchase services from the authority, the hospital also received subsidies over the four year period totalling almost $40 million from the tax payer, none of which has been accounted for.

Although the HSA is said to have made considerable strides and has a strategy to get to a point where it can be accountable to the people for the money it has spent, the disclaimers from the Auditor General’s Office drive home the reality highlighted by both the previous and current auditor general. The people will never know what happened to that money and how meaningless the late reports are.

With no financial records at all for the years ending 2004 and 2005, the reports for those 12 month periods are merely a list of the budget allocations and the hospital’s goals and objectives. In a statement the current chairman of the board, Canover Watson, lists too short a time frame for the change from a department to an authority, as well as inadequate capitalisation, turnover in senior staff and Hurricane Ivan as the main reasons why the HSA cannot account for a single cent of the approximately $58 million it received in payments from government for services and subsidies over those two years.

In the 2006 year-end report financial records were submitted to the AG’s office for audit. However, the then AG, Dan Duguay, revealed seven reasons for being unable to complete the audit and the reason for the “Disclaimer of Opinion”, which ranged from inadequate accounting records to the complete absence of invoices to account for operating expenses. In his statement, the current chair acknowledges continuing problems but states that things are improving for future years.

The year-end report for 2007 sees the auditor general offer a disclaimer of opinion again, this time on five major issues, from incomplete records relating to patient revenue to the purchase of supplies and materials, as well as human resource costs, all of which the AG was unable to verify.

Watson in his statement talks of the continuing improvements in the HSA’s financial management going forward and states the reduction of the subsidy from government in the 2009/10 year. Going through the AG’s disclaimer, Watson says that all of his points are being addressed.

In total across this two year period the HSA received almost $100milllion in public funds for payment for services and subsidies which has not been accounted for.

Laying the reports on the table, Minister Mark Scotland said that, as a result of the hard work of the current board under the chairman ship of Watson and the hospital under the management of Lizette Yearwood, the HSA was moving towards removing disclaimers in the future. He said the authority was committed to complying with the requirements of the PMFL and fiscal prudence.

The reports for the fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010 have yet to be presented to the Legislative Assembly, but according to the auditor general’s most recent assessment, 2008 has been completed, 2009 has been finalized and 2010 is in progress. The four reports from 2004-07 are now public documents and available from the HSA or the Legislative Assembly.

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  1. My2Cents says:

    I see everyone loves a story like this and all the armchair generals immediately start baying for the blood of the senior managers.

    The thing is, this is old news.

    This is a report about events that happened over three years ago between 2004 and 2007. This is not "new".

    The reality is the HSA has been making huge strides to improve, and has largely succeeded in the goal to be better. The article does at least acknowledge that the quality of the accounting has steadily improved over the period, but there is no mention that the HSA has not received any subsidy from government in the last couple of years. Yes, it receives payments from the government insurance programs for medical services provided to those Caymanians insured through the government plan, but that is hardly news, and is not a subsidy. It is payment for services provided.

    Beyond that, the HSA has financially stood on its own two feet for the last couple of years, and indeed most recently, made a profit for the first time. A profit which is being plowed back into the HSA to improve yet further.

    Rather than berrate current management for the mistakes of the past, how about some acknowledgment for the success they are currently achieving?


  2. Joe Mamas says:

    This IS the price of doing any business in Cayman.  This IS the price of living in Cayman.  The money you pay just goes away.  None of it will go back into making Cayman a better place to live.  Because they have set themselves up in a way that makes them totally not responsible for any of the money that is disapearing it will only be a matter of time before its all gone, No one will loan anymore, and there is not enough to pay for the bills, payroll, or to run any meaningfull Government.  Those days are coming Cayman.  And the reason this is happening?  NO RESPONSIBILITY.  NO ACCOUNTABILITY. AND MOST OF ALL NO MORALITY IN GOVERNMENT.  The days of struggeling to pay for food will soon be the days of struggeling to keep your homes and land.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Canover knows what is wrong with that place and so do the politicians. The Senior management fel they are accountable to no one, and there is a high level of cronyism, favoritism and unethical behaviour. No one is held to task for not doing their job as long as they "kiss up" to the senior executive. Boards come and go and so do chairpersons and they simply wait until the next change and come to the board meeting with a long list of creative excuses and someone new to hang for it. That place needs real leadership from someone who is educated, business minded, and empowered to take action, not a continuation of the same ol crap that has gone on for years. But the real test will be when Canover recommends that someone be fired and some politician interferes AGAIN. Im sure he already knows what I am talking about. What goes on there is disgusting and I have seen no improvement in the past 10 years. as far as I am concerned, if you still cannot get someone from appointments on the phone after calling 10 times we are still in the dark ages as far as the HSA is concerned.



  4. Anonymous says:

    to describe it in simple language:— failed management

    It is time they are held accountable for misleading the public , as they did a few months ago in claiming they were financially very strong.

    talking to insiders ther, I am concerned about the working staff- doctors , nurses etc who are working under difficult conditions like inadequate supplies etc. I do not want to say more because it will undermine public confidence.

    From the patients side, harrasment by the incompetent business office staff for copayments etc when many of the patients have met their deductables. Patients coming for elective surgeries have ben threatened about cancellation of thei procedures if they do no pay upfront. This would have been considered reasonable if the patients involved had not met their deductables. This has become a blanket policy for one who walks through their door .

    These terryfying stories of threat could easily be avoided if the billing / business office called the insurance companies before and confirmed in writing if the deductable is met or not. It only takes a few minutes.

    as far as some of the senior managers— they are more like movies stars ( mostly seen in the news papers and not in the field. This feeling has been mentioned by many a staff member.

    Wake upsenior managers– it is cruch time. In failure the boss has to take responsibilty and resighn to make way for a more effective manager.






  5. Anonymouse. says:

    I think the Minister responsible for the Health Services during the period has an Accountants Degree. Surely himself and the Board must know where the money is??????????????????????????

  6. Anonymous says:

    Oh well. Another shocker! And what will be done about it??? Absolutely nothing. Everyone is wishing for the next election and then what??? The same cycle continues………..people will be put in their positions based on party support, family status and connections………surely not based on abilities………….and for sure nobody wants to rock the boat and deal with any incompetent people. It is just easier to keep eyes wide shut!


  7. Scrooge McDuck says:

    question:  During these ahh periods.. did everyone in accounting at HSA make sure you received a paycheck regularly? That’s great. Were they on time? You’re welcome.  Did you make sure it was the right amount?  Good. Can’t be too careful. Mistakes happen.  After doing so.. did everyone cash them and deposit them in your accounts? Smart move did you keep doing that? Year? After year?? After year???  Brilliant!! You’re just too clever. Right on top of it you might say

    Because we can’t find any records you were employed there:

    Would you mind giving it back?

  8. Anonymous says:

    There are more pirates on Cayman now, than there was 250 years ago……just wearing different wardrobes!

  9. Jonny 5 says:


    "the hospital also received subsidies over the four year period totalling almost $40 million from the tax payer"

     What taxpayer? The Cayman Islands are tax free!

     (yes, I understand this is public money, but we don’t use the ‘T’ word in Cayman!)

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is astonishing incompetence.  Who was the financial controller or director? What were they doing all day?

    "HSA is said to have made considerable strides and has a strategy to get to a point where it can be accountable to the people for the money it has spent".  That is just not good enough.  It sounds like "we’re going to keep doing this for as long as we can get away with it".

    Keep the cheque stubs, start a spreadsheet, even write it down on napkins. It’s not that hard:- every other corporate entity and government agency on the planet does it as a basic competency.

    Maybe it’s better that we don’t know where the $100m went. With zero accountability there will have been some egregious abuses for sure. But someone needs to font up now and sort this mess out.

  11. Anonymous says:

    "In total across this two year period the HSA received almost $100milllion in public funds for payment for services and subsidies which has not been accounted for."

    This place is a bad joke.