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Dec 16, 2009

CEO says he doesn’t know why supply prices skyrocketed

The Commission of Inquiry is likely to wind up soon. This coming Friday two unnamed witnesses will give testimony on the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s procurement procedures from January 2008 to June 2009. But today’s big witness was Dr. Gary Longsworth, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital. When he took the stand, Longsworth refuted previous testimonies before the commission. He focused on seven points including quality of supplies, audit fees, vehicle transactions — two of which were sold to then Medical Chief of Staff doctor Khalid Ghazi and former C.E.O., Alvaro Rosado. He also refuted some of the findings of the audit on the hospital’s finances. In addition, Longsworth said that the Belize Medical and Dental Union was aware that certain employees of the institution were doing business with the hospital through their private companies. But according to Longsworth, it wasn’t until the new administration took over that the doctors voiced their concerns about it. In a direct hit on B.M.D.U.’s President, Doctor John Sosa who testified on Tuesday, Longsworth said he failed to prove any illegal activity committed by Board members.

Dr. Gary Longsworth, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.
“Dr. John Sosa, President of the B.M.D.U., when given the opportunity yesterday to testify to this Commission and substantiate his allegations which he made in June, came up woefully short by failing to produce a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing by this administration. With regard to the shortage of the derivative Phentalin mentioned by Dr. Sosa, this is a countrywide problem which needs to be addressed by the Ministry of Health as this is an internationally controlled item. The present Director of Medical Services, Dr. Bulwer, recently sent a Memo to the C.E.O. of Health expressing our concern at this prolonged shortage. With regard to the sutures and contrary to public allegations by the B.M.D.U. executive, at no time was the K.H.M.H. out of sutures or supplied with sutures of inferior quality. The same brand and quality of sutures, Eticon, supplied to the K.H.M.H. by CMS is used by all the government hospitals throughout Belize without complaint. In the case of the contrast media, again we have an example of special interests within the hospital seeking to influence purchasing by the hospital administration. The move to purchase Oltravist contrast media by the administration at a unit price of eighty-four dollars twenty-seven cents was prompted by a stock out of the normally used Omnipaque contrast in May of 2009. And this happened when the tenders had been chosen but the supplies had not been delivered. Perhaps being overly cautious, we opted to order Omnipaque from a US source. Unfortunately, another similar contrast called Isovue was sent in error and given all that subsequently transpired in June, we mistakenly held the stock beyond the seller’s stipulated “return by date”, so we were unable to return it in the final analysis.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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