500+ to benefit from medical subsidies in 2019

─ “396 patients have benefitted so far and we are trying to aim for 500 next year” – Min. Lawrence

─ funding is available for all Guyanese who have received a recommendation from GPHC to request funding for further medical interventions overseas

─ previous administration benefitted from this initiative

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 17, 2018

The Ministry of Public Health has approved funding from the 2019 budget for funding medical subsidies. During the consideration of the estimates for the 2019 budget, Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence pointed out that persons in need of critical overseas medical procedures previously benefitted from this fund.

When questioned by the opposition side of the House about the number of persons estimated to have benefitted in the past and how persons could access the funding, Minister Lawrence stated:

“We are so happy to report that 396 patients have benefitted so far and we are trying to aim for 500 next year…”

In addition, the minister highlighted that the funding is available for all Guyanese who have received a recommendation from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to request funding for further medical interventions overseas.

“When someone comes with a recommendation from our tertiary institution indicating that he or she needs to seek overseas treatment, then they are given a list of requirements. While they are asked to bring those documents, the staff will then write to the National Insurance Scheme, if the person is of workable age, to ascertain whether that person is registered with NIS and what will be the contribution from NIS.”

This, the minister explained, is the primary basis on which a person is evaluated to access the subsidy. Thereafter, the potential beneficiary is then interviewed for approval of the recommended amount.

“If that amount is above $1M then we prepare a cabinet document and take it to the Cabinet for its no objection.”

The minister also indicated that since the subsidies are open to all Guyanese, two government ministers, between the period of 2015 to date, have benefitted from these medical subsidies.

Previously, several ministers of government and prominent persons benefitted significantly from financial aid for medical expenses over the years. In 2012-2013, the list included over $116M spent in one year on cancer treatment for the now-deceased presidential advisor, Navin Chandarpal.

The report for the 2012-2013 period which lists 942 persons from Regions 1 to 10 who received subsidized and full financial assistance for medical treatment, at an overall total of $361.4M.

Of the ten cheques given for dental work, which totalled $4.2M, nine were for former Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai which totalled $2.1M, former Minister of Human Services, Jennifer Webster which amounted to $1.3M, former Prime Minister Sam Hinds $28,240 and his wife, Yvonne Hinds $788,880.

Also, former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall racked up some $4.9M in medical expenses in September 2012 in the United States. The cheque for the 42-year-old Nandlall had listed “medical support” as the diagnosis.

By: Delicia Haynes.

Image: Keno George.

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