Senator criticises hospitals board audit delay

  • Not happy: Independent senator James Jardine (file photograph)

A five-year-long lag in audited accounts for Bermuda’s biggest quango is “totally unacceptable”, an independent senator claimed this week. James Jardine said that audited accounts had not been prepared and issued for the Bermuda Hospitals Board since 2014.

He added: “We are five years behind in the issuance of audited accounts.

“This is just totally unacceptable.”

Mr Jardine asked the Government to push for the audited accounts to be released “as soon as possible, and for the hospital board to be put on notice that they must complete audited accounts within the time frames allocated to them”.

He added: “It is important to have those accounts up to date at this time because the hospital represents 42 per cent of our cost of healthcare on this island.

“If we are going to be talking about reducing the cost of healthcare on the island, we should be looking at the operations of our hospitals.”

The comments came as Mr Jardine raised the issue of the importance of combined financial statements in the Upper Chamber — a subject he has spoken about repeatedly since joining the Senate nine years ago.

Mr Jardine added: “I believe it is important we have a combined picture of all the government activities, which include all the quangos, so that we can see where all our revenue is, where our expenditures are, and what contingent and other liabilities exist. “I think it’s extremely important that we know what our combined financial picture is.” Controversial changes to healthcare financing were passed last year.

The Health Insurance Amendment Act was passed by MPs in the House of Assembly and later by senators.

The Government is to pay an annual grant to the BHB, capped at $330 million this year, to replace the fee-for-service arrangement.

The new system took effect on June 1.

The block payment will be funded by the Government with a more than threefold increase in the amount it takes from monthly premium payments to health insurers, up from $101.97 to $331.97.