Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 10:25 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Contrary to popular belief – and to the chagrin of the ordinary Belizean – medical services can occasionally be very expensive.
And Belize’s leading referral hospital, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), is facing a shortfall of $35 million in revenue from medical debt incurred by patients.
Board Chairman Dr. Andre Sosa told reporters this week that the hospital has to collect that money to ensure its services continue – it is not a government department, but is run by a statutory board with Government input.
“Our staff has to be motivated to do the leg work, to do the hard work and we’re working on that already. There are incentives that we plan to offer to encourage greater collection. Also previously there was no leeway for giving discounts, we’re already taking steps in that regard to offer substantial discounts for persons who come into make payments so those will be made known shortly,” the Chairman announced.
Further, the hospital is looking at other recommendations to retire and reduce the debt.
The COVID-19 crisis, says Dr. Sosa, has helped Belizeans appreciate the level of service provided by the hospital, often known by unflattering nicknames.
“When the borders closed and we were forced to do everything here in country people came to understand that sometimes you have to stand on your feet. You say we are a dependent nation we must ask that way. It will require substantial will both political as well as administrative. We’re looking to get the support to make sure that we’re able to collect on a substantial portion of that amount. It is only in doing that that we will be able to bring Karl Heusner into the 21st Century and that we can create a dependable service, a dependable hospital that can be the pride of all Belizeans.”
The KHMH replaced the Old Belize City Hospital on Eve Street in the 1990s.
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