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NHI needs policy change to facilitate transplantation – Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool

- said it would be cost effective in the long run for NHI
Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool wants the National Health Insurance (NHI) policy to be tweaked to incorporate coverage for persons undergoing transplantation, especially in the area of kidney transplantation. Photo: Facebook/File
From left: Nikko Salmon, 28, was described as a hero for donating one of his kidneys to his dad, Neville Salmon, 54, centre. Right is Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool. Photo: VINO
From left: Nikko Salmon, 28, was described as a hero for donating one of his kidneys to his dad, Neville Salmon, 54, centre. Right is Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- A passionate and emotional plea has been made for the National Health Insurance (NHI) policy to be tweaked to incorporate coverage for persons undergoing transplantation, especially in the area of kidney transplantation.

This call was made by a team of doctors who on Saturday, December 7, 2019, performed the first ever kidney transplant in the Virgin Islands (VI).

According to them, the Bougainvillea Clinic and the transplantation’s team of doctors, nurses and medical administrators took on the cost for the procedure which made history in the Virgin Islands.

At a press conference called by owner of the private hospital, Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool and which had on its panel some of the key players in the surgeries- Drs Dwayne Thwaits, Obi Davies-Ekwenna, Craig Stoutt and Adeybja Irundiye- the success of the procedure was hailed while donor, Nikko Salmon, 28, was described as a hero for putting his life on the line for his dad, Neville Salmon, 54.

Nikko, who is a construction worker and a player for the One Love Football Team, has had his own challenges in the past medically, having lost two fingers in an accident.

‘Change policy of NHI to include transplantation’

Expressing that they are not concerned about the financial benefits that can be derived for the private hospital but rather the opportunities of giving persons with kidney challenges the chance at a better and longer life, the team of doctors publicly called for a policy change in NHI.

Written into the benefits policy of NHI are the area of medical care and treatment that are covered and not covered. In the category of not covered, is transplantation.

Owner of Bougainvillea Clinic, Dr Vanterpool said when he appealed to NHI to cover transplantations, he was told in essence that they can see the logics in covering, “But our rule says we don’t cover.”

He said that in coining the policy it was only looked at that transplantation was expensive but failed to consider, “It is half as expensive as dialysis because the first year of transplantation, the actual event of the transplant plus the maintenance of the patient on medication and other things amounts in one year to the same amount that you spend on dialysis.  But in the following year and years it reduces significantly and in very few years that patient has almost no need for medication, their lives are prolonged and they are back to normal.”

The justification

While noting that he hasn’t the exact figure, Dr Vanterpool said that it is his understanding that the Government is currently spending over six million dollars a year on the dialysis unit, “The dialysis unit has 12 or 13 dialysis machines and they are maintaining around 56 patients on dialysis. So they are 56 patients that gets treatment three times a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, or Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays.”

He explained that the procedure goes for approximately four hours,” Then they catch themselves, they might be able to work in between or not. So effectively in a year over $100,000 is spent on each patient. If you took six million, divide by sixty patients, that is a hundred thousand dollars for each patient.”

Continuing to make his case, Dr Vanterpool added, “And that figure does not necessarily take into consideration or into account all the things that happen with dialysis patients outside the dialysis machines, medication, sometimes fixing their fistulae, other surgeries etcetera.”

It was revealed that there is one type of medication among several others that had to be imported for the care of the Salmons’ that cost some $12,000. This cost was absorbed by Dr Vanterpool and his team and they are committed to assisting the patients in absorbing other costs for medication that are necessary for a full recovery.

16 Responses to “NHI needs policy change to facilitate transplantation – Dr Heskith A. Vanterpool”

  • Sue (09/12/2019, 12:16) Like (28) Dislike (3) Reply

    I am glad that the child helped his father who agreed to given him one of his kidneys. However, Dr. Expensive didn't know that NHI needed to change policy to help us here in the BVI but he know it need to change now to accommodate him and his expensive prices after he took up his prices that we can’t afford here. The sad part is that he has most of the shares in NHI.

    • lol (09/12/2019, 13:18) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    • Me (09/12/2019, 16:40) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      The thing is that we should find out why people chose to go to him and not the hospital, you have more affordable choices, It's a matter of confidence. you should ask the patience who's life has been changed for a better quality
      • @Me. (09/12/2019, 19:16) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
        Hospital don't have the facility for certain procedures that's why he can kill us with the cost.... A surgery or the same surgery by the same Doctor cost half the price when it's done at the hospital ..
    • BVIYoungster (10/12/2019, 12:26) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
  • ccc (09/12/2019, 15:10) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    hope they not looking for more ways to bill NHI
  • Worth it? (09/12/2019, 16:16) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    How many kidney transplant patients/candidates are there in the BVIs. US had about 17,000 for a population of 300 million, so about 0.006% of the population. We have about 30,000 residents, so a similar incidence works out to be about two per year, at about $ 262,000 for the procedure and 6 mo follow-up costs (in the US, and we know how much more expensive it is here). Using US costs, NHI would have to budget about $500,000 for kidney transplants per year. If only 60% of the population is employed (so 18,000, the rest at school, retired or unemployed), this works out to an annual contribution of about $ 35 per employee per year to take care of two patients kidney transplants. However, the article suggests that the $ 6 million($330 annual contribution per employee) spent on open dialysis could be avoided if the 53 patients had kidney transplants. Not all dialysis patients are candidates for transplants, and it often takes long to find a donor. Fifty three kidney transplants would cost $13.8 million, but the expensive anti-rejection medication costs that go on some years may well make for better medical economics.
  • Agree 100%. Hope VIP do something (09/12/2019, 19:12) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    They need to renegotiate the high medical cost these Doctors and medical facilities are charging...Before NHI. I was with Nagico. My Dr visit was $80.00.. When NHI came it double.... When these Doctors and Medical facilities here about NHI. Like Sharks seeing blood.. Then again the people who were negotiating on behalf of NHI did a very poor Job. I hope VIP revisit this..
  • Blame our leaders. (09/12/2019, 19:22) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    These leaders we want to give holiday to didn't had the vision to see the hospital need these facilities. We built a huge hospital. Space or money isn't the issue. It's the vision and the love for people that the never had. .. Though Dr V is very expensive we can't kill him. He is taking advantage of blind leaders.. He saw an opportunity and he invest. Which is great. Just wish he would bring his prices down.
  • True (09/12/2019, 21:32) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Dr. V's facilities are too expensive for real. Even with NHI, you feel like you have no insurance because the out of pocket cost is so high.
    • Dr Smith Hospital (10/12/2019, 06:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      What did Dr Smith done that makes a positive difference in the present and future of people lives.. Of course he had the opportunity to have the hospital doing all these thing Dr. V doing at his hospital. But he the NDP were happy with enriching Dr. V and other family and friends Doctors at the expense of the citizens....
  • GG (10/12/2019, 00:02) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    KUDOS to dr.vanterpool......Our visionless leaders built 2 big empty hospitals and dr.vanterpool, a 1 man, built a complete hospital by himself with everything
  • i from here (10/12/2019, 02:25) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    I agree with hisket
  • Street reporter (10/12/2019, 06:34) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    VIP was never a game changer. All the yrs. I've observed politics NDP will change what they don't like what VIP did when they get in power but VIP gets in power and just go lo along never seen to care or have the courage to make right wrong... Hence the reason why they are a one term patty and will continue to be a one term party.... People vote change to see change...
  • Concerned (10/12/2019, 09:17) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    The doctor wants policy change for transplant so he can get more money in his pocket? What about policy change so that locals can go to doctors of their choice whether here or overseas? What about policy change to accomodate locals and not people who come just to make money? Locals have no place to go when NHI goes bankrupt. What about change in policy so that members of the community can purchase insurance at reasonable rates and NHI does not have to be primary for them? Please think on the Nationals of this country first.

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