Anyone residing legally in the Virgin Islands now pays for health care under the lower priced “resident” category following an amendment to the territory’s Hospital Regulations, government announced Monday.

 

The amendment was published and took effect May 26.

When the BVI Health Services Authority rolled out higher fees in January, hospital officials said the increase was essential, especially with the increase in costs of operating the new Peebles Hospital.

“Not only are the fees justified, but they’re very, very necessary,” BVIHSA Chairman John Cline said at a January press conference.

Mr. Cline and others explained that the BVIHSA had some $20 million in outstanding bills, much of which was for overseas health care rather than local care.

But many residents were unhappy with the discrepancy in charges for “residents” and “non-residents” for many services, which were in some cases more than five times higher “for non-residents.” Under obstetrics, for example, while a “resident” would be charged $1,000 for a normal baby delivery, “non-residents” would be charged $5,200.

The January regulations stipulated that anyone who had lived in the territory for less than 10 years would be subject to “non-resident” fees.

For more information on the authority’s fee schedule, call 852-7608 or 852-7583.

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