Posted: Friday, September 2, 2016. 10: 46 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Belize district has avoided a potentially chaotic crisis after the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT) threatened to pull its services due to a dispute with the Ministry of Health over salaries for EMTs.
BERT had announced that as of September 1 it would be suspending operations in the Belize district but yesterday morning BERT and the Ministry went into a meeting to negotiate in order to avoid the crisis.
Negotiations are still ongoing, and the two parties will meet again on Monday to finalize the details but BERT Financial Operations Manager Andre Carillo indicated that the Ministry has agreed to increase government subvention to help cover BERT’s operational costs. In the meantime, BERT will continue to provide uninterrupted ambulance services. Government will cover salaries for the current EMTs and incoming EMTs.
The EMTs parked their ambulances in front of the Central Health Region yesterday morning awaiting instruction from the Ministry who was not prepared for the action taken by BERT. Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero intervened and helped the negotiating process.
“We have reached an agreement; BERT was basically interested in us increasing their subvention, that’s one, and the other option was that they would be able to bill us for services beyond the subvention; or they could stop the subvention and they would be billing us for every service – on average, that worked out to forty-three thousand dollars. The proposal that is on the table is basically the same thing but it’s not a payment to BERT; we’d be picking up salaries and those kinds of situations,” Manzanero explained.
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