Ambergris Caye won’t be affected by reduced NHI services

Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

The medical services of the National Health Insurance (NHI) will not be available to those who rely on it for the remainder of this month. This is due to budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This limitation in services will apparently only affect NHI clinics, thus services are not expected to be disturbed at the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II on the island, as it does not fall under that category.

The Polyclinic is a primary health care government clinic, and a representative shared that health services on the island’s public health care should not be affected by the changes in the NHI system. If anything would affect the Polyclinic’s services, an official note will be provided to the island community.

The announcement of the setback in the NHI was made on Tuesday, July 14th via a public notice explaining that all service caps for the insurance scheme have been exhausted for the month of July. Some of these services include pharmacy, laboratory and imaging.

As a result of these reductions, the note said that NHI clinics will need to give priority to the most vulnerable with chronic conditions and the maternal health population. Otherwise, all referrals for the remainder of the month will not be processed unless the client is prepared to pay for the full service. NHI advises patients to call ahead of time before visiting the clinic.

This adjustment in the NHI budget saw a negotiated reduction of 15% per month, and it is believed could have been worse without the necessary intervention. In a previous interview, NHI Executive Chairman, Ramon Figueroa spoke about the budget cuts and that government’s original plan was to reduce the budget by 40%.

Therefore, NHI is closely monitoring the monthly allocations for the rest of the fiscal year. This is in part to ensure that payments to their providers are sustained and make the necessary adjustment to the program as needed.


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