BHB Provides Details About Clinical and Corporate Review – Ombudsman for Bermuda Will Provide Process Review and Public Comment on Final Report

Bermuda Hospitals Board today provides the community with details of its planned Clinical and Corporate Review. BHB has been in the early stage of planning this review for many weeks and has now started a procurement process with the release of a request for proposal.

Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Venetta Symonds, comments: “So much has been achieved by BHB staff to improve our services, but we are listening to our patients and the community, and we know our focus has to be improving clinical quality further while driving down costs and being accountable to Bermuda for our service and activities. I believe we can raise the bar on clinical care by ensuring our clinical and corporate decision-making process is transparent, fair, collaborative, evidence-based and considers the system-wide implications in order to innovate and improve efficiencies for Bermuda as a whole. A Clinical and Corporate Governance Review will identify what more we need to do to strengthen that framework.

“Since I took over as CEO almost four months ago, it has been very clear that this is the perfect time for a review of this nature. Many clinical improvements have been made and we need to use the clinical and corporate data we now have available through new systems and surveys to take stock of where we are and plot our course ahead. We also know we are working in an environment that demands we find new ways of doing more with less, as the recent report from the Bermuda Health Council highlights. BHB already has Memorandum of Understandings in place with private and government insurers that cap the amount we can charge over the course of the year. The National Health Plan has been introduced that requires us to modernise, we have a mental health plan that is changing how we deliver services and we are forging ahead with vital preparations for transitioning acute care services to the new facility in 2014.

“Doing nothing is simply not an option, and I can already inform the community that BHB is not waiting to act where necessary. For example, we are already rolling out a Performance and Accountability Framework and internal contract reviews are well underway. The Clinical and Corporate Governance Review will give us external and independent advice on these changes.”

Mrs Symonds finishes: “Although we all know BHB has improvements to make, along with my 1,800 colleagues at BHB, I hope it is also recognized how far we have come. Patient satisfaction is rising in nearly all areas, and patient feedback along with clinical quality has continued to be the main driver for our improvements. We have the highest levels of accreditation with Canadian and US organisations and the quality of procurement and design of the KEMH Redevelopment Project has led to an international award. Bermuda should be extremely proud of the BHB staff, local individuals, stakeholders and companies who made it happen. The commitment I can make is to build on this, and to go further in ensuring confidence in our organization at all levels.”

The Board and BHB have requested that the Ombudsman for Bermuda to be involved. Ms Arlene Brock has agreed to undertake a process review and provide comment on the final report, which will be made public. She will perform this review function under section 5b of the Ombudmans Act 2004, following her prior review of the hospitals, A Tale of Two Hospitals.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Chairman Mr Wendall Brown, comments: “The Board is committed to ensuring the highest standards of governance. We are already initiating a formal procurement process to select a qualified, experienced organization to carry out this review. We expect the review to take several weeks and it will cover both clinical and corporate areas.”

“I recognize there will be public interest in this report and I would like to be open about the process we are undertaking from the start. BHB is not funded solely by public funds; we are a quango. For acute care services, we earn fees from both the private and government insurance programmes, based on usage. BHB also has to compete for many lines of business with private providers both here in Bermuda and overseas. For this reason there may be commercially sensitive as well as confidential patient and employee information that prevents the full report from being made public. We have heard the community ask for accountability, however, so we are very pleased and grateful that the Ombudsman for Bermuda will be involved as a critical friend on behalf of the Bermuda public. Ms Brock will not only review the process, but will have the full report to comment on, and her comments will be public. BHB will make public a summary with recommendations and actions.”

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