A hospital worker collects a sample for a Covid-19 test last year. The hospital and private doctors are now offering concierge services at higher costs for those who wish to avoid testing centres. (File photo: DANA KAMPA)

A demand from “high-profile clientele” pushed forward concierge entry and exit Covid- 19 testing, Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said last Thursday in the House of Assembly.

The BVI Health Services Authority, he added, proposed an on-demand service “specifically for the business community, high-profile clientele and the individuals who wish to avoid the hassle of having to journey to a designated facility.”

Physicians were invited to work extra hours to facilitate the service, and they have been compensated accordingly, he added.

He said he didn’t know the net cost of the service but said that it included the cost of additional human resources, administrator processes, and additional risks.

As of May, concierge testing per person costs $150, plus additional fees, he said. Doctors can be called out to private yachts for $600, and to private islands for $400.

“Please note that this service is optional and has ultimately proven beneficial to those who do not wish to avail themselves to the public testing facilities of Covid- 19, which is presently mandatory for all persons entering the territory,” Mr. Malone said.

He went on to say that the $150 fee is the only amount going directly toward the BVIHSA, and that all the other fees are “split” between other service providers.

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn asked Mr. Malone to clarify whether the service was being offered by private physicians or by the BVIHSA.

Mr. Malone said that doctors from the hospital are called on from “time to time” to provide the service through the BVIHSA, but that almost all the doctors have their own private practices that offer the service and “sell to the particular client.”

He stated that all PCR tests done by the government or private services are taken to the government-run lab for results. Acquiring sample results costs $75 per test, he added.