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Private medical facilities accused of exploiting NHI

- B&F Medical responds to allegations
Private medical facilities have been accused of exploiting the National Health Insurance (NHI) by allegedly jacking up their prices. Photo: VINO/File
Owner of B&F Medical Alred C. Frett has defended the cost of medication at his private business. Photo: VINO
Owner of B&F Medical Alred C. Frett has defended the cost of medication at his private business. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Almost all the private medical facilities in the territory have come under fire for allegedly jacking up their prices and putting undue pressure on patients since the National Health Insurance (NHI) was implemented.

For a long time these allegations have appeared to have gone un-noticed by the orchestrators of NHI and the accused medical facilities until recently, August 16, 2016 when the management of B&F Medical took to social media to offer some clarity on the issue.

Writing on behalf of B&F Medical, Mr Alred C. Fret acknowledged that for some they noticed the comments and, while some staff, patients and friends who know better found them to be malicious and called on him to lash back, they welcome the patients right to comment because it could help improve wherever possible.

On Facebook Mr Frett said, “Furthermore, our function is simply to serve you and we felt that delaying a response would allow time to hear more of your concerns so we may better provide greater clarity. Today we would like to take this opportunity to offer the following points in addressing your concerns.”

He explained that all patients are entitled to receipts for the money they pay and that B&F Medical strongly believes in transparency so, “unlike some providers, we issue full receipts, including that paid by the patient as well as that to be covered by the Insurance.”

According to Frett, making quality patient care available and affordable is B&F Medical’s motto and in doing so it has often provided free services, patient’s discounts and cash prices significantly below that covered by insurance providers. “That still continues, however, it is understandable that patients who never had insurance before NHI may now be confused.”

Brand Name vs Generic Medication

Mr Frett also said that the provision of medication is an important part of patient care and while generic drugs may appear to cost significantly less, research has shown them to be prone to counterfeit and far less reliable which could put patients at greater risk. “For this reason, we prefer providing brand name rather than generic medication – Even then we try to have the cost of our medication competitive to the generic supplies of others.”

‘Prices for medical care have taken a hike all around’

However, it was Mr John M. Moorhead who called this news site early this morning sounding rather outraged at what he claims is a very vague and poor justification attempt by Mr Frett. According to Moorhead, he utilised the services of B&F Medical and others in the territory before and after NHI.

“What people are complaining about is true, the prices have taken a hike. I will have to go see Mr Frett and sit down with him directly on this. I cannot understand why just when NHI come about is the same time all these private places suddenly gone up. I am paying more rather than less now and I have regular medical needs that can’t be satisfied at the hospital, they are in a totally other arena by themselves too,” said that man.

“We know this government has a lot on their hands right now that they are broke but just like they pull back the taxes on the drunken masters’ trophies (alcohol) we got to band together and have them either pull back on NHI or the other thing do a serious investigation on these private facilities and institute some policies in the Honourable House of Assembly, because more and more we the small man getting the bitter end of the stick,” he added.

43 Responses to “Private medical facilities accused of exploiting NHI”

  • i from here (18/08/2016, 16:11) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply

    Manicure is the MAIN CULPRIT! They have doubled their prices!

    I know, I was a regular customer!

    • wize up (18/08/2016, 17:30) Like (2) Dislike (5) Reply
      @ I from....can you say inlaw(social circle)...If I had a medical facility I would be doing the same thing.......just saying!!!!
    • John (19/08/2016, 04:40) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      And to think that some of these people went to university at tax payers expense. Free education, but they are the most expensive.
    • voter (20/08/2016, 08:07) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      Yes Manure, You're a Car, and Bogainkiller are the chief culprits
  • Music (18/08/2016, 16:16) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    Last year I could get a driving licence medical for $60. This year I only paid $20, but the private practice billed NHI a whopping $100. So a 100% increase. Why?
  • wize up (18/08/2016, 16:24) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    What start bad cant end good
  • Binocs (18/08/2016, 16:34) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    Gouging. SAD!! Greed!! Surely we are in the last days. SOME OF THEM ARE TWO GREEDY...Can't get enough money. There is one in particular...I wouldn't call any names.
  • since Jan 1 (18/08/2016, 17:07) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    Only the government don't seem too concern as to what is happening with their money. To say that the cost of healthcare has escalated in the BVI since NHI would be an understatement. The service remains the same. Where you use to pay $20.00 co-pay for a standard doctor visit, you are now paying $50.00 co-pay. What kind of calculator does NHI and the government need to do the Math? A simple xray is almost $100.00 co-pay. Are you telling me that an x-ray cost $1,000.00 - well 100 is 10% of 1,000. The normal cost for a simple xray is way under $100.00 even without insurance. It is high-way robbery and the doctors are squeezing NHI from the balls up. It is bound to crash at this rate because where will/is the money coming from?

    Pay attention and match most of the doctors to the politicians and see what you come up with. It begs us to think a little further as to what is really going on.
    I support NHI and the original idea, but greed has taken over and no body is taking control of the ship. May God help us.
    • THINK! (18/08/2016, 19:25) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      You are so right and right now the hospital's X-ray machine is down so we have to go to a private facility and the one I went to did not even have a thyroid protector, yet I paid %150.00 co pay for 2 x-rays.

      I do not know why the government did not fix rates before deciding what the rate of employee/employer payments would be. How can the government fix a rate but the provider not have a fixed rate for NHI?
  • bam (18/08/2016, 17:16) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yes...we all know they hike their prices use denying it Some of the staff are so snobby and rude......needs training in dealing with people ....not everything you tell the customer.
  • Citizen (18/08/2016, 17:42) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    i never signed up for nhi and i dont have a card. why is money being deducted from my pay?
    • wize up (18/08/2016, 18:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ citizen....when you find the answer to your question some of us will really love to know(you run things)...
      • yeeaah (19/08/2016, 16:05) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        Whether you sign up or not your money must be deducted. That is why it is called national health insurance. They said it time after time in all the talk show and releases. We need to listen very carefully when a government minister is on the radio or you will get lost in transition.
    • Yes (18/08/2016, 18:45) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      Who on here you expect to answer that question. You know better than us who you have to ask and what you need to do.
    • please (18/08/2016, 20:31) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Because it is the law that it is deducted from your pay. It is not optional but mandatory.
    • Interested (18/08/2016, 20:40) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      Whether you signed up or not.your emp,over has to make the deduction and pay it on,That is the law.
      I have already complained about the price hikes by these private medical facilities
      NHI has to crack down on them or go bankrupt before the year is out
    • It's the law (19/08/2016, 10:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It doesn't matter whether you signed up or not, it's the law. If the employer didn't deduct the money they'd be liable for fines same as you if NHI ever caught up to it. So they are protecting themselves and quite rightly too. NHI doesn't care if you use the insurance or not, you still have to pay for it and so does your employer. Youcan buy private insurance if you want, that's your choice, but you're still going to have to pay for NHI.
  • two cents (18/08/2016, 18:45) Like (5) Dislike (10) Reply
    The price need to go up because by the time they wait to get pay from government they will go out of business .They are running a business not a charity for the government.
    • Hmmmm (19/08/2016, 09:08) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      You fool!!!! I had never heard so much rubbish for the day!!
    • wize up (19/08/2016, 12:45) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ two cents...I full agree with you and it might come a day when some of the service providers make you pay out of your pocket then you will submit your claim directly to NHI....I conduct business with government any they are very very very difficult to collect payment from however as a business owner you still have your reoccurring monthly expenses...someone within the NDP camp did fully understand the impact of this NHI just as someone within the education system did not fully understand the impact of the additional school year(big ideas but no clear vision).....
  • NHI (18/08/2016, 18:46) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Prices quadrupled since this thing came on stream.
  • Eyes. (18/08/2016, 19:12) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This report is true. Everybody in the BVI are so greedy and selfish... Bit it back firing. People not flocking the Doctors offices like before. The Contractors are not getting the big Contracts no more... They are only hurting themselves in the long run. Do good and surely goodness and mercy shall follow u and your lineage all the days of their lives.. Remember that.
  • poor we (18/08/2016, 19:36) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am glad this topic surfaced because I recently saw red when I visited my doctor at a local medical center for my annual check-up.

    I did the identical tests I had taken last year. Only difference was that last year, without insurance, I paid less than $200.00. This year with my NHI card, my deduction was nearly the identical amount as last year, and when I got my receipt I nearly dropped. The total bill was nearly $1,000.00 and NHI was being billed for a little over $800.00!!!!! The doctor's visit did not last a good fifteen minutes, but the charge for that line item was 400.00. Higway robbery at its best.

    How can the NHI exist indefinitely with those ridiculous charges? I do not want to believe that it was implemented primarily to benefit the medical centres. My concern, too, is how will persons barely existing on low incomes, afford to pay the deductibles? Now that those ridiculous medical fees were not challenged, if anything they will only increase with time. Poor we!!

    I was looking forward with open arms to welcome the NHI, but I have seen absolutely no relief. A crying shame.
  • voiceofthevoiceless (18/08/2016, 19:46) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    This was to be expected from the time the Government made the unwise decision to make it mandatory for the already insured to sign up for the NHI. You see by doing that they made the NHI the only insurance in town as private insurers were limited to supplemental packages that did not conflict or compete with the NHI. When you have a monopoly prices go up as health care providers can charge the NHI whatever figures they choose as they are no private insurances to negotiate and help to keep the prices down on the market.

    My private insurance just wrote me and said that they will have to discontinue their coverage as of next year June. It seems that their business has gone down so much that it is no longer economically feasible to do business in the BVI.

    At the rate we going we will be in so much debt, it will take generations to pay it off.
  • IslandGirl (18/08/2016, 19:52) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    My complaint on the BVI community board was very legitimate.. I was NOT given a generic brand at Vanterpools. Want proof? I have the medicine boxes and receipts!
  • True (18/08/2016, 20:37) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Just last week I had that experience I question the cashier both at the doctor office and lab. I think these private practices are taking advantage of nhi. Also note nhi pay too little on some items while your personal insurance pays more. So you pay a big amount co payment and still private doc bill nhi high. How is it we expect nhi to survive when minimum wage kicks in all hell will break loose also. I speak from first hand experience one week ago this is really sad.
  • Watchinh (18/08/2016, 20:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Binocs (18/08/2016, 21:18) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    Not to mention the "best dentist". Doing root canal and crown story like it going out of style. I had a little discomfort and when I went there he say I need root canal. He is the "expert" so he did his thing. Had to go back time and time again. Wrong tooth. I DID NOT NEED A ROOT CANAL. He bad on his mouth too. Quick with an answer.
    Total rip off of NHI and us the consumer
    • @ Sad (19/08/2016, 13:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yup sign of things to come! USA and Uk have the same issues with Doctors etc. doing unnecessary procedures and prescribing meds so they can fleece the system. But whom is going to investigate these frauds? No one as they are all politically connected and wont upset the scales on inequality - this messes with their funds! I too am appalled at how much more I have to pay now over what my private insurance covered. Soon NHI will have class action law suits and then the whole circus gig will go tits up!
  • Shaka (18/08/2016, 23:22) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    I saw this coming from a mile away, I asked a top level personnel in NHI from earlier in the year if they have something in place to combat this same issue and they never had a answer. Greed is what gonna kill this country, nobody cares about country.
  • voter (18/08/2016, 23:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    The problem is that the some private clinics are charging over NHI usual and customary rates UCR. Patient will pay 10% of NHI UCR by the private doctor plus the difference. E.g say NHI UCR on a service is $150 and private doctor charges $350 then you pay $15 + $200 balance over UCR or $215. That is what is happening. NHI only pays for approved services and only up to their UCR balance is on the patient. NHI UCR is different to private insurance more on somethings and less on others. Your choice is to shop around and don't just go to the same clinic.
  • Truth (18/08/2016, 23:40) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Sorry but many medical places if not all have increased fees. Its a different rate if you paying with insurance from that of NHI. Alred u need shut up cz u charging people on insurance based on a $80 rate vs $160 if u using NHI. so If my insurance charges me 10% i paying u $8 vs $16 if i use NHI. You all need to stop it and them stupid signs up on your business walls say a lot about you.
  • NHI is the Devil (18/08/2016, 23:51) Like (18) Dislike (1) Reply
    I said it before and I will say it again,,,,this NHI has caused unnecessary bills and unnecessary time spent for patients in Peebles Hospital or in any private practice consultation!!! I've withnessed this problem first hand. All they want is to rake up a bill with all sorts on nonsense test, this test that test, X-ray, Scans etc that isn't needed!!! All these so called health care providers care about is $$$$$. This is a money making scheme in the medical practice and the Devil is a damn liar. Why the government think NHI was going to benefit the BVI???? They are in denial!!! There is blood on the government hands now...someone must be held accountable for this obvious money making scheme by these medical facilities. NHI IS THE DEVIL..... THERE IS A HUGE ETHICS PROBLEM IN THE MEDICAL PRACTICE as a result of NHI. I'm so sorry for our country.
  • home (19/08/2016, 00:33) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ndp getting rich from nhi
  • Concerned (19/08/2016, 05:44) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    With private insurance you are responsible for your agreed deductible on you policy .With NHI you contribute % of your salary . I have not seen any where an AGREED / STATED percentage that we the PATIENTS know we have to pay . This is where the NDP educated jack--ses has shown again they DONOT care about this country . I mean the ppl that are running the NHI skeem because they are just as GUILTY as the politicians
  • Ning (19/08/2016, 08:59) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why do I feel like a dying victim in the jungle of Guyana after having drunk Jim Jones koolaid.
    We cannot blame anyone else but ourselves, those who knew we were headed down the road of disaster would not stand up and those who tried we allowed them to be discredited. How much more can we take? How much longer will we sit back and take these lashes before we revolt.
  • Pardon me please (19/08/2016, 09:02) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I have some question!! Are we NOT tired of COMPLAINING? When are we going to STAND UP for our RIGHTS? What are we waiting for? DEATH? Because at the rate these injustices are occuring that is all I see. LORD HELP US ALL!!
  • National Fancy Social Security (19/08/2016, 10:06) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    NHI is just another fancy social security. Why isn't it a fixed cost rather than a percentage of your earnings, why do you have to pay it from every job you hold where some people work 2 or 3 jobs. This is just ridiculous and the NDP is too ashamed to back track on a foolish decision to implement this insurance. The paying population of the BVI is too small to sustain NHI. Barry them went some where and saw NHI work in a country that has millions of people paying in to it with proper regulations on what the medical facilities can charge it's customers, they didn't study it out properly and then come forced this stupid shit on us the people of the BVI. NDP want to run NHI on the backs of 10'000 people. They bragged that 30,000 people registered but ages 0-18 don't have to pay, elders don't have to pay, half of the scooter accident victims may have registered but do they pay their contributions? It's not our fault you racked up such a bill for the hospital and now you need money to repay for it
  • B Real (19/08/2016, 10:19) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sorry to say but the administration BEEN knowing this, IT'S BEEN A BLATANT CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Our officials who brought this SCHEME to us and it is a SCHEME outright OWN or HAVE SHARES in other MEDICAL FACILITIES IN DIRECT COMPETITION WITH PEEBLES. YOU EVER SEE MORE CHIT IN YOUR LIFE? These officials & party members will be straight long after they are put out office......LONG. I mean the only part member that aint corrupt or just plain out full of chit is Mr. Turnbull the party ONLY BRIGHT SPOT.
  • Patient (19/08/2016, 12:46) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is so true., it's sickening to think about its true. Suddenly medical fees are way higher here than Puerto Rico or miami
  • Mr news site (19/08/2016, 13:35) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    So we know what is stated by the bloggers... it is true. What next? A demonstration. .. a march... a stoning of some govt building? The govt are ignoring the masses but history shows that frustration will build for only so long before real action begins. Leh we do dis thing!
  • sword and sheild (20/08/2016, 14:01) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    those who continue to rob cheat and deceive will one day find out when the cup is fulled judgement cometh like a whirlwind and who will then deliver you from wrath and indignation

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