BHB statement on financial management, audits and Government guarantee

Thursday 17 March 2022: On behalf of Bermuda Hospitals Board, we are providing clarity on issues relating to:

1.            BHB financial management,
2.            the filing of the BHB financial audits and,
3.            the reporting of Government Guarantees in the Budget Book.

BHB financial management:

BHB’s finances moved to a very small surplus in 2020-21 for the first time since the $25 million budget cut imposed in 2017, and this year BHB hopes to break even.

This improvement has been possible due to the hard work of staff and leadership to save costs even through the pandemic. Government has supported us by meeting its budget commitments and providing smaller grants to support MWI improvements and the implementation of the electronic medical record. We are also deeply grateful for the assistance from donors who helped us manage personal protective equipment costs, the purchase of an oxygenator and cover costs associated with running the vaccination clinic. It has truly been a community effort to bring us to where we are today, even with the challenges we are experiencing.

We remain concerned about improving our cash levels, but these too have improved very slightly at the beginning of this year. This has been helped by a savings programme that has delivered about $20 million savings in this year alone. There is a long way to go and financial stability remains a key focus of the Board. This has not, however, prevented us continuing to prudently invest in improvements in this fiscal year.

We are extremely grateful to our staff who have managed a pandemic, financial pressures, and continued to modernise and improve the quality of our services and care, which is at the heart of what we do each day. Improvements include a new five-year strategy and completing the first year of implementing an electronic medical record, which will transform how we deliver care and also provide major improvements to patient care. We have just gone through a certification process as a primary stroke centre in a year when we launched a tele-stroke programme with Johns Hopkins, and we achieved stroke care standards that are equivalent to some of the best hospitals in the US. We have also continued integrating our model of care to bring care closer to people in the community and hopefully support a healthier community where chronic illnesses are better managed and controlled, even for people who do not have insurance or are under-insured.

Filing of the BHB financial audits:

It is reassuring that audited financials up to 2019 have shown us to be in good standing, with unqualified audits. The 2015-16 audits in the annual report are due to be tabled in the House shortly, followed by subsequent reports in the following months.

The reporting of Government Guarantees in the Budget Book:

The Government guarantee for the PPP contract is a Government-owned responsibility and changes have no relation to financial management of the hospital.

BHB’s responsibility is the payment of the contract, which it has managed over the last seven years. The contract covers the building, maintenance and lifecycle costs.

The guarantee in the budget remains an estimate as the hospital has not defaulted and is currently not at risk of defaulting on its payments. Despite the many financial challenges we have as hospitals and as a country, BHB has and expects to continue to meet its obligations of the PPP contract.

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Notes to Editors
The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda's second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world's leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit www.bermudahospitals.bm or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at publicrelations@bhb.bm.