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Dec 16, 2009

K.H.M.H. CEO comes out swinging at Commission of Inquiry

Story PictureIn his wrap up, Longsworth said that the recession caused many patients to have outstanding debts with the K.H.M.H., however he would be implementing measures to demand payment for those bills. He also said that the K.H.M.H. is taking corrective measures to repair its bruised image and is setting up a procurement department to perform due diligence and to monitor purchases. While Longsworth expressed confidence on the outcome of the inquiry, Justice Lucas had a few questions for him.

Dr. Gary Longsworth
“We have, therefore, supported this investigation from the start, notwithstanding its origin in unfounded allegations and sinister attempts to discredit and remove the legitimately constituted Board and administration. Indeed we are grateful for it, as we are confident that that the Commission will exonerate us and that the recommendations from it will aid and promote our mandate to become the premiere tertiary care institution for the country of Belize. From my point of view, it is a coincidence that De la Fuente is our major purchaser because we purchase on a competitive basis. And the fact that they are able to supply so many of our goods and items competitively is just a matter of circumstance. As we have pointed out before, it is not reasonable to compare retail prices with tender prices. They are two different processes; two different outcomes.”

Justice Adolph Lucas, Chief Commissioner
“Well how does this jump from twenty-five dollars to seventy-one?”

Dr. Gary Longsworth
“Well, I suppose it may have been a case of supply and demand. It may have been a case of price gouging, I don’t know, but it happens in the retail market not only with drugs and supplies, but all types of items depending on when you shop and who you shop from.”

Adolph Lucas
“I do hope you tell any supplier who jump in this fashion that there is a likelihood that auditors will spot these things and they must be careful.”

Longsworth said the K.H.M.H. will now move toward establishing a social work unit to assess clients abilities to pay for services rendered. Where possible it will also start to assess patients’ insurance capability. The hospital, he said, only collects half of its payments.

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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