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QEH revises measures for patient transfers

QEH revises measures for patient transfers


Vincentians seeking medical attention at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in Barbados will not be admitted to that hospital unless satisfactory financial arrangements are made prior to admission.{{more}}

And, according to the revised referral guidelines of the QEH, which were recently communicated to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), no patient will be accepted unless the referral request is made by a consultant of the QEH.

The guidelines, which were communicated to the MCMH by Dr Dexter James, QEH Chief Executive Officer, stipulate that the medical doctor from the referring country and the relevant QEH consultant must discuss the ability of the QEH Consultant to treat and manage the referred patient. After this, “the QEH consultant must … make a written request to the Chief Executive Officer for this referral to be considered.”

Dr. James, in an email to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), stated that the QEH has “revised and improved on arrangements for patient transfers” in an effort to improve on the “long-standing arrangements between the QEH and many overseas territories…”

The QEH is a referral centre for patients of the OECS, whose medical institutions do not usually have the level of care, equipment and facilities.

The revised guidelines were issued following the suspension of admission of private overseas referrals to the Barbados institution on August 9, 2011. Back then, James said the lockout was as a result of patients being admitted to the QEH without adhering to the “custom and practice”.

The email to the MCMH, dated January 31, 2012, stated: “You will note that we have improved on arrangements for urgent and emergency transfers and strengthened payment mechanisms. In a general sense, patients will not be admitted to the QEH until and unless satisfactory financial arrangements are made prior to admission.”

James, however, acknowledged that emergencies can take place at any

time, and said where such takes place after normal working hours or on weekends and public holidays, “we anticipate that payment will be made by the next available working day.”

According to the guidelines, on receipt of the referral request from the QEH consultant, the CEO “will give consideration to whether the QEH has the capacity to accept the referral.”

The response to the request will be made within 48 hours for elective referrals; in 24 hours for urgent cases and immediately for emergencies, the guidelines state.

A summary of the estimated costs for hospitalization, investigations and / or treatments and any other relevant costs will be sent to the referring country. In cases where the length of stay extends beyond the estimated time, the outstanding fees “must be paid prior to discharge”.

For elective cases, fees must be paid in advance at least three days prior to admission, while in urgent and emergency cases, payment must be deposited on admission.