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‘VI healthcare too costly & unsustainable’ - Cromwell Smith

Talk show personality Mr Cromwell Smith aka 'Edju En Ka' who hosts ‘Umoja’, Thursday nights on ZBVI 780 am says that healthcare in the Virgin Islands (VI) has become too costly and as a result government spreading in the sector has become unsustainable. Photo: VINO/File
Mr Cromwell Smith aka Edju En Ka was at the time interviewing personnel from Hire BVI, in addition to Simone T. Monsanto (Right), Director of Caribbean Insurers Limited and Jerry R. Smith (Centre), Managing Director of Therapy Works LLC on his show Umoja on ZBVI 780AM on May 9, 2019. Photo: Facebook
Mr Cromwell Smith aka Edju En Ka was at the time interviewing personnel from Hire BVI, in addition to Simone T. Monsanto (Right), Director of Caribbean Insurers Limited and Jerry R. Smith (Centre), Managing Director of Therapy Works LLC on his show Umoja on ZBVI 780AM on May 9, 2019. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Talk show personality Cromwell Smith aka 'Edju En Ka', who hosts ‘Umoja’, Thursday nights on ZBVI 780 AM, says healthcare in the Virgin Islands (VI) has become too costly and as a result government spending in the sector has become unsustainable.

Mr Smith was at the time interviewing personnel from Hire BVI in addition to Simone T. Monsanto, Director of Caribbean Insurers Limited and Jerry R. Smith, Managing Director of Therapy Works LLC.

Health Bankrupting VI

“Healthcare now in the territory has been not just now… very very costly, to the point where our governments are talking about the possibility of healthcare bankrupting the country,” he told the listening audience on the Thursday May 9, 2019, edition of the show. 

According to Mr Smith, people of the VI need to put health into focus since the spending on the sector cannot continue.

“So we have to really take stock of ourselves. We have a situation where 47 per cent, almost 50 per cent, half of the population, is suffering from chronic disease.”

Mr Smith Continued, “We [are] spending about a quarter of a million dollars a month on renal care, on dialysis and such that is unsustainable… Even with NHI, we can’t continue in that way, so we need to get a hold of ourselves and take responsibility for our health,” he said.

Healthy Living 

Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone (AL), during his inaugural address to the Virgin Islands House of Assembly (HoA) on March 12, 2019, had touted partnerships to improve healthcare in the territory.

The minister had said the new government will mobilise all available resources and legal parameters of the Ministry, to secure the wellbeing of everyone residing in the Territory.

However, one solution the panel said could help with the growing health issues and obesity woes is encouraging the territory to live a healthier, active and exercise filled lifestyle.

According to Ms Monsanto, “I think that exercising on the whole, has to become someone’s lifestyle and not just you telling someone you need to go exercise. So they of their own self have to get it [to be] a part of their lifestyle, otherwise we’re going to be in trouble if we don’t,” she said as part of combating local chronic health issues.

With that, the Insurance Director urged the Territory to come out and support the 4th Annual CIL Health and Wellness Expo happening on Saturday, May 25, 2019 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.

11 Responses to “‘VI healthcare too costly & unsustainable’ - Cromwell Smith”

  • hv (10/05/2019, 10:15) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hope he tells that to his ndp pals who got rich overnight from NHI
    • Who Knows?? (11/05/2019, 21:22) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Stupid comment. There is absolutely no basis or facts to support your allegation.
  • Vg man (10/05/2019, 12:02) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    The system is for the rich.The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer.
  • lodger (10/05/2019, 13:31) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    A doctors visit shot up from $60 to $160 overnight when NHI was introduced. It is the medical profession who are making a killing out of government. My over 70 annual driving licence used to cost me $75 and govt nothing. Since NHI it costs me only $31 and government $144.
  • E. Leonard (10/05/2019, 14:27) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    At some point in every resident’s life, there will be a need for healthcare services. Consequently, ideally, every VI resident should have access to at least basic, quality and affordable healthcare. Basic healthcare should be a right. However, delivering healthcare to all in both developed, developing and emerging countries is a challenge. Large countries, ie, US, UK, Canada.......etc have challenges delivering healthcare to all. Delivering healthcare is expensive and pose social, economic, political...........etc challenges in countries, eg, Affordable Care Act (ACA, Obama Care) in the US. The challenges of delivering basic, quality and affordable healthcare is more acute and challenging in small locales such as the VI.

    Some of the challenges faced by VI are: a. small size, b. small population, c. recruiting and retaining staff, d. distance from large land masses, e. VI population spreading over approximately 15 inhabited islands, f. shortage of specialty professional staff and facilities, g. professional isolation........etc. For example, the population is not reaching the critical mass that may be needed to provide for more specialists and facilities. The NHI was a good start to delivering healthcare to more people. However, as noted earlier, the BVI is tiny with a small population. In insurance, the larger the pool the less the cost to individual members of the pool; the larger the pool the more premiums can be collected to deliver demanded services.

    Moreover, to provide more services to more people at a lower cost, the pool must be increased, ie, cooperating and collaborating with other regional entities, increasing the supply (providers) to meet growing demand, improving service delivery, providing more efficient and effective management of healthcare programme, advocating for maximium preventative care.....etc. Nonetheless, without major changes to and to deliver the desired level of care, government will have to share in more of the delivery cost or residents will have to pay higher premiums. More competition will force providers to deliver services at a lower cost.
  • Quiet Rebel (10/05/2019, 16:39) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    @E. Leonard, my friend, all that talk is good but you being politically correct (PC). You and I know that is the old dutty bast....s(ODB) and greedy that is driving healthcare through the roof and up into the stratosphere. Since the advent of NHI, Dr. Dear and cohorts have been charging exorbitant prices well beyond what they were before the NHI. . Dem killing ah we wid dem high prices. True, medical providers have to pay for all that time spent in classroom/training, labour, equipment, facilities, overhead.....etc and have to make a profit but the ODBs can do better. It like they extracting a pound flesh from customers. The Hippocratic Oath stipulates that physicians should cause patients no harm. However, dem stressing us out wid dem high prices and probably making us sicker. If only there were more competition, we could boycott the ODBs but they got us over a barrel. If only we could shame the guilty ones. We need some angels of mercy.
    • @Quiet Rebel (11/05/2019, 12:39) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      @Quiet Rebel, “Dr. Dear and cohorts have been charging exorbitant prices well beyond what they were before the NHI. . Dem killing ah we wid dem high prices.“ So QR, who is Dr. Deal? Lol.
    • Outsider (14/05/2019, 20:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Totally agree. As soon as the NHI came in, basic charge for visiting a doctor literally doubled in the space of weeks. Prior to NHI, one could see a doctor for $70. One can’t now.
  • Outlaw (10/05/2019, 18:37) Like (13) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wasn’t the consultancy contract he received from the NDP too costly as well. How come we never hear a word from you about that. How come we never hear you speaking about costly healthcare Under the NDP rule.
  • Who Knows?? (11/05/2019, 21:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    E. Leonard, all your comments that I have been reading from you on this media on whatever topic, have always been so very constructive and thoughtful. Why don't you try to get elected to help ALL of us in BVI to solve our problems? I recommend going at large......
    • E.Leonard (12/05/2019, 14:55) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Who Knows??, thanks for your warm, encouraging and positive sentiments. True, elected members craft legislation, deliver high quality services........etc. Nonetheless, it will take both elected members and non-elected residents to cooperate and collaborate on issues to promote the territory’s growth, development and sustainability to make the BVI a great place to live, work and play. Further, for positive change to occur, the community cannot just vote on Election Day and then go inactive until the next election. It must stay engage, advocate and agitate (peacefully of course)to ensure that the territory is doing the right things at the right time for the right reason(s) for the public good; you have an obligation to ensure the territory is maximizing/optimizing its limited resources and heading in the right direction. The 13 elected members have position power (they are elected to represent you) but the true power rests with the other 32,000+ residents. The many must exercised that true power(365/24/7) for the public good. It must hold elected members feet to the fire, holding them accountable and responsible and rewarding and recognizing top performers. As a Virgin Islander, I will continue to offer my opinion(s) on selected issues. My opinion(s) is one among the many being offered.

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