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Medical providers can charge patients whatever they want- Barry

- The Deputy Director, Social Security Board Roy E. Barry said there is no legislation to prevent this as medical providers have rejected government price control offers
Deputy Director of Social Security Board Mr Roy E. Barry (left) has said there is no legislation to prevent medical providers, who are signed on to NHI, from overcharging patients. Photo: VINO/File
Former Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA, (R3). Photo: VINO/File
Former Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA, (R3). Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- All medical service providers accepting the state-run National Health Insurance (NHI) Programme continues to rake in huge profits and it has been unearthed that there is no legislation in place to control what they charge patients.

Therefore, medical providers in the Virgin Islands (VI) can “charge [patients] whatever they want,” according to the Deputy Director of the BVI Social Security Board with special responsibilities for the NHI implementation, Mr Roy E. Barry.

The Deputy Director was at the time testifying before the 2017 Standing Finance Committee as it deliberated the 2017 Budget. Mr Barry advised the Committee that at the inception of the NHI programme, it was recommended by the Government that providers not be allowed to charge more than 5% above the fee schedule set by the NHI which they labeled “balance billing”.

Medical providers don’t want price control

This proposal was rejected by the medical providers, according to Mr Barry, and now they can charge patients whatever they choose to with no laws in place in the Territory to prevent them from doing otherwise.   

When asked by the former Opposition Leader Hon Julian Fraser RA, (R3) for Mr Barry to clarify his statement to the Standing Finance Committee (SFC), the Deputy Director stated, “that there was no legislation to mandate the prices, but an attempt was made to control the market. However, once that failed they had no authority to implement anything further.”

To this, Hon Fraser asked if they allowed patients to go overseas, if that could work “without any legislation?” Mr Barry stated in his response that “it had been difficult to try and force the providers when they were not in agreement with what they were trying to achieve, especially when they had a shortage in some of the services.”

Profit up after NHI

It was also stated that even without the requested maximum of 5% government presented to the medical providers in which they can charge above the proposed rate, medical providers can still make a decent profit without the maximum 5% by just relying on the rate sheet provided by the NHI programme.

It was on November 7, 2016 that our newsroom published a list from the House of Assembly in an answer to a question on how much monies were made by providers for the first eight months of 2016.

34 Responses to “Medical providers can charge patients whatever they want- Barry”

  • he should've never said that (11/04/2017, 16:04) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    IT IS A FREE FOR ALL
    • Reply (11/04/2017, 17:18) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
      And please remind me why I should believe anything said by this Administration?
    • want to know (14/04/2017, 11:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I want to Know you have $350.00 from your NHI. You brought a glasses frame​ for 180.you have $100.for your frame .$50.00 for visit and $200. For your lens. Your​ lens cost less than $200.You have to pay the $80.00 extra for your frame.and they still giving you a read out to sign for $350.
  • WHAT????!!!!! (11/04/2017, 16:15) Like (34) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Government out here cracking down on the taxi men and other small businesses to pay their dues and have their affairs in order and these people are now capable of robbing directly from the Treasury? Man this is NONSENSE!
    • wize up (12/04/2017, 08:32) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      @ WHAT???!!!: sit back relax then see who offers the health care services???!!!!(can I get ah Amen!!!!)
  • Lilly (11/04/2017, 16:35) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    this is shameful SMH
  • Hmm (11/04/2017, 16:49) Like (32) Dislike (1) Reply
    This thing just was not properly thought out at-least not in the best interest of the people . Especially those who had insurance before.
    • Samantha (12/04/2017, 16:08) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Amen to that. I'm withholding many doctors visit because of the out of pocket expense. I didn't had this problem before.
  • Lord O. ----Help us. (11/04/2017, 17:10) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is FXN Crazy. These educated fools. Can't believe what I'm reading. OMG..How could this B. and those greedy FXN Doctors heartless. Just raking it in.. Now I know why the fees are ridiculously high..I hope when change cone we actually see change. And not just change in party name.
    • stupid (12/04/2017, 10:03) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Why you all are complaining when the ball were in you all hand . We the people of the BVI should have boycott the NHI because there is no way they would have been rip off . They would have gone back to get it fix for everyone. All the TORTOLIAN can do is complain and no action . I am saying start taking action and stop complaining. This government getting away with everything to rip off tax payers to help their cronies. When will it stop.
  • wtf? (11/04/2017, 17:10) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is what happens when politicians go full steam ahead without doing their research. Hoping it is just because they didn't think things through (seems to be the way things are always done here) but looking like it may have been an intended side effect to help someone out. And the beat goes on...unfunded pensions, gun law banning flare guns, banning employees from health care illegally, etc. Status quo in Tola!
  • inquiring mind (11/04/2017, 17:23) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    So, VINO and the Smith administration had best not go around pushing the “false narratives” claim that government cannot do anything.

    The truth is; they do not want to do anything
    • LOL (11/04/2017, 19:08) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
      So one person sees through the smoke screen. Government refused to hold anyone to a contract then bawling.
  • truth & freedom (11/04/2017, 17:29) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is precisely the problem with this NHI programme and the Government: the NDP has outright lied so much in the House and elsewhere (to the point where even the mainstream press stopped pretending like they might be telling the truth), it's impossible to know when they are actually crying wolf.
  • not fair (11/04/2017, 17:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    WE THE PEOPLE are the ones who are hurt by this because the government can't regulate the providers. Once they charge NHI and NHI won't pay the whole amount we pay our 20% copay and anything left. Travesty!!!
  • Do something. (11/04/2017, 18:19) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why did Mr Barry took this long to bring this information to the public... After a year of people complaining of the ridiculously high rates. You are in charge Mr Barry. Do something to correct the situation.
    • agreed (11/04/2017, 19:49) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      And I was also wondering how come the Government Opposition could not of thought to ask the pertinent questions before? On the other hand a NHI plus 5% markup across the board is foolishness from a professional point of view. Why? Cause essentially if a practioner owns his/her own building and accepts this, he/ she can may make a profit whilst one who has to consider paying rent may not. That's one political way of keeping young professionals out of the market-whether intentional or not !! Fixed Costs vs. Variable Costs, well taught at your alma mater - UVI. I will give you the benefit of doubt as I will remain confident that you would have drawn this unfair methodology to the legal minds that drafted the legislation as well as to the politians begin the madness.
    • Jacperlance (12/04/2017, 05:28) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      @ Do something, I will not blame Mr. Barry at all, these politrickans feel them so cleaver, Mr. Fraser was part of the debate on the NHI bill as Opposition Leader in the HOA. Didn't he see if fit at that time to adddress, those concerns? Why wait until now to go and asked Mr. Barry those questions. They are the ones who pass laws, Barry is just the messenger. They asked those Heads of Department those ridiculous questions, at standing finance like they themselves don't know what's going on
  • The 4 brains... (11/04/2017, 18:30) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms Skelton, Ms Scatliffe, Mr Barry, Mr Faulkner 3 educated people, how could they let this happen. They must have seen the drafted bill before it went to the house. So its 3 things. 1/ they are not as smart/educated as we think, 2. They didn't care because they wasn't going to use it, 3/ they were ambushed by politicians...
  • Trump (11/04/2017, 18:56) Like (6) Dislike (7) Reply
    Since Obama is unemployed, why not give him a consultancy to run NHI? He did such a great job here.....
  • hummm (11/04/2017, 21:41) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    The good news is that everyone is watching.
  • bb (11/04/2017, 21:44) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are two separate issues at play here. first is greed and second is all in the family
  • $$$ Count (11/04/2017, 23:36) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    The ministers of government would have anticipated this a s members of the public were concerned from the inception. However, due to conflict of interest, the public good too a back seat and their pockets(and those of family members) began to jingle like they never have before. Our " government in the sunshine" did this to us and are now t willing to change it.
  • wize up (12/04/2017, 01:11) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I personally think that the intention of the NHI backfired; I see NHI as a another tax structure for government to raise funds and I think that government never thought the people would have capitalize on seeking health care services....
  • Political Observer (12/04/2017, 05:10) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply

    Shameful! rubbish! Incompetence! This is too outrageous to even be on Ripley's Believe It or Not. This is an awful and horrible dream that I cant wait to be awaken from. But ah sh*t! It is not a dream. It is an ongoing nightmare. This must be a planned action for medical professional to rape the NHI and the consumer,for no government could think this was good legislation that was in the programme or public's best interest.

    The legislation should have been as easy as ABC or crab foot and hangers. Government set in place a fair and reasonable fee structure and if medical professionals want to participate he/she must agree to charge the established fees. Furthermore, we like to copy what happens up north so we should have modeled the NHI after Medicare in the US. Fees are established and if a doctor wants to participate in the programme he/she must agree to accept the fees. Who is going to get reprimanded for this glaring and unconscionable oversight? No one. The gross negligence is only being inflicted upon the long suffering consumer. Has anyone heard about the newest game in town-----Government is the Cash Cow. And we wonder why government is broke. Gross neglect and extreme incompetence.

  • B Savage (12/04/2017, 08:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    See people this shows you. Our own people have LOW MORALS instead of thinking hey...this is good for our people. THE 1ST THING THEY THINK ABOUT IS HOW CAN WE TAKE ADVANTAGE AND PLUNDER THIS SYSTEM. People that is where the real effort and brain storming happening. The energy not used to improve the system and benefits, it is to LOOT and plunder the system. Most of these people HAVE TRADED AWAY THE EQUITY OF THEIR SOULS FOR THE DOLLAR. THAT IS THE PROBLEM IN ELECTING OLD PEOPLE AND EUROPEAN JESUITS. THEY CONSIDER THERE FAMILY 1ST FOR MOST THEN SPECIAL INTEREST SOME OF THEM ARE DEMONS SO SPECIAL INTEREST COME BEFORE THEIR FAMILY. Now trace the FAMILY LINE and who benefitting the most it is so outrageous it is laughable.
  • SMH (12/04/2017, 08:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    NHI was rushed out without the proper legislation and now we the people are being screwed, nice work ndp
  • We're gonna be broke (12/04/2017, 08:51) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    I figure NHI is getting about 4 million $$ per month. The doctors are working to get most of that with these ridiculously high charges. NHI won't be able to keep up with the demands, and then what? We will have no more NHI! The legislators can't allow this to continue!
    • LOL (12/04/2017, 11:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      lol Somewhere between 7 and 8 million a month. Total for the year is around 80 mill
      • SMH (12/04/2017, 12:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        a previous story has already shown that it is close to being insolvent already, its barely making enough to break even
  • dude (12/04/2017, 11:14) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    & some of u want to be independent. These are the folks who give education a bad name in our community.
  • El Chavo del Ocho (12/04/2017, 13:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    easy fix man! tax the medical provider high than any other business if they don't want to comply and put the money in the NHI
  • Robbery (12/04/2017, 15:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Went to the Doctor with cold that's going around, wouldn't take private health, NHI charged $160 for seven pills, total $400 for 10mins in and out.


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