HSA pays its way through improved efficiencies

| 19/10/2012

hospital entrance.jpg(CNS): The local health service is becoming increasingly efficient, the health minister stated on Thursday evening as he opened the third Cayman Islands Healthcare 20/20 National Conference. Reviewing recent developments at the local public hospital, Mark Scotland told delegates that new payment systems had resulted in a reduction by a quarter of the HSA’s overheads. The minister said that after years of struggle, the HSA had at last become self-supporting as a result of the various measures it had implemented. Improved billing and collection, greater operational efficiencies and economies of scale in procurement and service mean the organisation no longer requires an annual government subsidy, he added.

“And all this came while we refurbished the three operating theatres at George Town Hospital, then added a fourth, upgraded the Eye Clinic and also renovated Cayman Brac’s Faith Hospital,” the minister said as he lauded the work of the service.

He explained that the efficiencies around bill payment, such as the new Real Time Adjudication System where a simple swipe of a card determines a patient’s levels of eligibility and coverage, had removed time-consuming guesswork and form-filling. This in conjunction with CINICO’s CarePay System across the authority’s facilities had dramatically reduced inefficiencies.

The HSA has also created an online payment system and an Internal Audit committee to develop standard procurement practices, increase billing and collection rates, ensure efficient delivery and gain appropriate payment, the minister said.

Alongside better financial control, the minister pointed to a number of other developments in local healthcare paving the way for a fitter nation. He said the CayHealth initiative had “devolved responsibility for healthcare to individuals and district clinics, assigning particular physicians to particular patients, ensuring not just continuity and efficiency of care, but also of consultation and treatment."

Scotland also spoke about legislative developments that he said would have a significant impact on local healthcare, especially insurance cover.

“We will bring amendments to the Health Insurance Law and its regulations to the Legislative Assembly on 5 November,” he revealed. “The proposed changes will increase the minimum level of benefits prescribed in the Standard Health Insurance Cover, ensuring that people under the plan have adequate resources. They will also introduce several new elements, including a wellness benefit, increased outpatient benefits, and cover for mental health.”

He also indicated that the long awaited first Human Tissue Transplant Bill, making organ transplants and donations easier, was under review and he hoped to table the bill early in the New Year. Pointing to the development of the National Health Policy which identifies nine strategic directions for health in Cayman, he said that bill would go to the Legislative Assembly next year.

With Dr Devi Shetty’s Health City breaking ground in East End, Scotland said the first phase was expected to be open by around this time next year.

Welcoming the delegates, sponsors and speakers from home and abroad to the conference, which has attracted a record breaking number of guests, the minister revealed that the success of the event meant that the costs were almost all absorbed by the private sector.

The conference theme is “Patient Centred Care” and continues through until Saturday lunch time at the Ritz Carlton. Entrance to the event is free and there are a range of local and international speakers making presentations, as well as several specific break-out sessions on a range of subjects from autism to workplace wellness.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Efficiencies like its "GREAT" phone answering & appoint-making systems??



  2. Anonymous says:

    Each transaction captured under the new software = a fee payable to third party provider? I hope not. HSA needs to clarify.

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    I had two appointments at the hospital recently and I was pleasantly surprised at the efficiency and waiting time and the quality of service by the doctor.

    They really are much improved from how it was in the past!

    • MIABRACKER says:

      I was pleasantly surprised also at Faith Hospital how much faster I am seen and treated. They have the Ambulance team who manage the clinic area with the registration girls and a nurse.  Both my husband and I were sick and they were a few people there with the cold as well.  It well so well I thought I was in Cape Coral. Everyone was professional, smiling and about getting things done and done right.  Just saying.

  4. Anonymous says:

    HSA certainly deserves credit for more efficiency but in reality Government is still subsidising because it is paying vast sums each year to CINICO for civil servants, pensioners, veterans, seamen and prisoners. CINICO then pays HSA and keeps some for itself for profit. If the money from Government/CINICO was taken away, HSA would collapse with massive debt.

    • Local says:

      I too agree that the HSA deserves credit.

      But I do not believe this is a 'subsidy'.

      The fact that CINICO charges the CIG for insurance coverage of certain persons, and then pays the HSA (or any other company for that matter) for services rendered to those insured persons should not be viewed as a subsidy by CIG to HSA (or any other company)



      • Anonymous says:

        OK, Local, fair comment and I agree your argument is defensible. But the fact is the money that keeps HSA afloat still NEARLY ALL comes from Government paying HSA through CINICO to provide services to patients (civil servants etc) who are "captive patients", ie they cannot take their CINICO cards and use them anywhere else except the HSA. I think this weakens your argument; HSA is not competing for these funds. But I don't want to sound too carping. As I suggested in my original post, there has been a very significant improvement in the way the HSA is run and not just in its financials but also in its provision of care. Mrs Yearwood and her team deserve a lot of credit.

        • Local says:

          I'm unsure why you believe the fact that the HSA gets "nearly all" of its revenue from CINICO weakens my argument that this is not a subsidy.

          Perhaps you may find the following reasoning helpful:

          The fact that you get "nearly all" of your business from one source does not mean you receive a "subsidy" from that source.

          So, for example, the Cayman Islands get approximately 80% of its tourist from the USA, but that does not mean the Cayman Islands receives a "subsidy" from the USA Govt. Nor would the fact that, for example, CUC receives "nearly all" of its revenue from customers in the Cayman Islands make it justifiable to say that CUC receives a subsidy from the Cayman Islands.

          In view of the above it may come as no surprise to you that I don't agree that simply because the HSA receives a large percentage of Government business from CINICO justify the statement that the CIG, via CINICO, provides a subsidy to the HSA.

          On the rest of your statement – we already agreed, and I will repeat for emphasis, the HSA is improving, both in its finances and the provision of care, and I certainly agree and join your chorus that "Mrs. Yearwood and her team deserve a lot of credit".

    • Anonymous says:

      Doctors and other employees deserve the credit! Not the board.