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Financial Relief for persons Indebted to the Health Institutions


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Contact: Claudia Monlouis



Wednesday, May 09, 2012 – Beginning July 2012 much needed relief for persons struggling to service their debts at the island's two major public hospitals will be introduced.


Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony while highlighting the large sums of funds owed to   the state by several entities including sections of the private sector, cited that the government remains mindful of the prevailing economic environment which may well affect people's ability to service their debts.


In respect to the Health sector, the Prime Minister has announced that financial relief will be provided to persons especially chronically ill patients, who are struggling to service their debts owed to the islands two main public hospitals.


“In that regard, I am pleased to announce that, after consultations with both Victoria Hospital and St. Jude’s Hospital, patients with outstanding amounts to those two entities will receive some relief beginning this financial year.    Data from St Jude’s Hospital indicate that the total owed by non-exempt patients amounts to $44.5 million and dates back to 1996. This is a significant amount, the collection of which continues to be difficult given the economic realities faced by the rural population which St. Jude’s serves.  In addition to the adverse effects of the global economic downturn on Saint Lucia, the decline of the agriculture industry in general and the banana sub-sector in particular have compounded the unemployment situation in the south of the island.  Therefore, in respect of St. Jude’s Hospital, the Board of Management has approved a six month amnesty on outstanding receivables. This means that patients who agree to settle their outstanding debt to St. Jude’s during this amnesty period, would be offered a 40-60% discount depending on the age of their debt and their individual circumstances. It is estimated that fourteen thousand (14,000) patients are likely to benefit from this arrangement. The potential geographic area covered by this amnesty would include the southern part of the island from Dennery in the east to Canaries in the west. The amnesty will commence on June 1st, 2012“


While data constraints at Victoria Hospital did not permit the determination of the overall level of outstanding debt by patients, their records indicate that the average annual level of patient receivables over the last four years approximates $3.7 million. As a group, patients on dialysis are the most indebted, with the cost of treatment tending to exceed their insurance coverage. Staff estimates indicate that some 80 – 90% of Victoria Hospital’s receivables are doubtful and that the cost of collection is likely to exceed the level of receivables.  Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce some relief to patients indebted to Victoria Hospital. The debt relief will apply to all categories of patients and will depend on the age of the debt at April 30th, 2012. Patients will be invited to settle their accounts and will receive up to 90% of debts written off.


Prime Minister Anthony also placed on record his appreciation for the contribution of the island’s health care providers whom he says continue to work hand in hand  with Saint Lucians to deliver quality health care.


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