BVI News

Residents struggling to access healthcare post-hurricanes

Peebles Hospital

Residents who have been working temporary or provisional jobs since the hurricanes are struggling to access healthcare.

BVI News understands that this is partly because their employers are not making the compulsory National Health Insurance (NHI) payments.

Under the law, employers are required to pay 7.5 percent of each workers’ salary over to the NHI. Half of that amount comes from the employee’s pay, and the employer is required to pay the other half (3.75 percent).

But, since the hurricanes, a considerable number of employers reportedly have not been paying NHI for temporary workers.

As a result, it is now being said that some healthcare providers are not accepting NHI cards that are behind on payments.

While speaking at a public meeting in Carrot Bay this week, one resident claimed that she is among persons who have been turned away at the state-owned Peebles Hospital.

“Nobody (employers) is looking to pay NHI [and] nobody is looking to pay Social Security for you. So when you go to the hospital they are saying to you ‘your card is blocked’.

Desperate

The resident further explained that unemployed residents are desperate for jobs and can’t afford to turn down potential employment simply because employers aren’t offering to pay NHI.

She said: “When people are looking work they aren’t asking ‘will you pay my NHI?’ They aren’t asking ‘will you pay my Social Security?’ They are asking ‘can I have money to take home to feed my family?’ So, why are they (healthcare providers) being so hard on everybody when they see that we have gone through a hurricane?”

While responding to the report, Health Minister Ronnie Skelton made it clear that no resident should be turned away from the public health facility.

“If you go to the hospital and there is a problem, you should not be denied care for whatever reason. I know when you get to the cashiers, they tell you that its based on the instructions they are given… But no one should be denied the care that they need whether they can afford to pay or not,” the Minister said.

He further called on residents to report instances where persons are denied care so he can rectify those issues.

“If I am aware of these cases, I can fix some of this stuff,” he said.

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8 Comments

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  1. Socrates says:

    Should residents be refused urgent healthcare at private doctors and at Peebles Hospital, a public facility, because their in compassionate employers are not paying NHI? No. Is Hon Ronnie “Pompie” Skelton, AtL, MHSS right in declaring that customers showing up at Peebles with urgent medical needs should not be refused service? Yes. Should it not be a national policy that anyone showing up at a hospital for emergency medical care cannot be turned away? Yes.

    Is it fraud fraud to collect NHI, SS, employment tax……etc and not submit them to government? Yes. Has employers lowered their prices for either goods or services since the devasting hurricanes? Has prices spike since the hurricanes? Should government take quick, punitive action against the “dead beat” in compassionate employers? Do employers care about employees when they do not pay their NHI, SS………etc? No.

    Will these employers be complicit in the worsening of employees urgent medical needs because they did not pay the employees NHI? Are these employers selfish? Yes? Are they greedy? Yes. Do they really care about their employees and their families? Will they try to rationalize their despicable, heartless, selfish, shameful……….etc behaviour? Yes. Will the dog that is hit when a rock is fling in the bushes holler? Should these shameful employers be publicly shame?

  2. Nickname says:

    Love that nick name …Pompie. It means backside cheeks in Spanish

  3. USA says:

    You do not refuse medical service in a public hospital. What is going on in that place it is a shame to read some thing like this is going. Where is the minister for health people still suffering from the hurricanes and to add this to their suffering is sad. The NHI should have set up in a way to go after the employers this sound backward but this is how the BVI do things. The poor will not get health care SAD SAD.

  4. LOL says:

    they are going bankrupt because people in the USVI are coming over with NHI cards – so we have about 30000 residents but about 80000 people with NHI cards. After that is addressed maybe our NHI can be saved and people who have paid NHI can receive treatment.

  5. Windy says:

    Employers not paying NHI. Well I wonder “who” they are that the government does nothing about it. Fine them – lock em up ! Noooo can’t do that to a cousin.

  6. Hmmmmm says:

    I don’t think you are being refused at the hospital. You get care and have to pay the bill, which people can’t pay. Because of this, I think people refuse care and leave! It’s a sad situation. Employers need to pay their shar of NHI benefits.

    • @ Hmmmmm says:

      Exactly. Please don’t go around saying that Peebles Hospital is refusing to treat people. That is simply not true and never will be. Most time when ppl say they were refused, it is because they themselves refused to follow a certain protocol and/or refused to BE treated. I work at the hospital and I am aware that the system is faaaaaaaar from perfect, BUT this is not something I am willing to sit back and listen to people say that we do.

  7. Interested says:

    They do not refuse care.You just have to pay in cash.

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