A medical assistance review committee has been established by the THA Health, Wellness and Family Development with the aim of providing financial assistance to people who cannot access services locally.
Last Monday, the committee was installed, comprising district medical officer/TRHA primary care physician II Dr Maxwell Adeyemi (chairman), management specialist Jan Thompson (deputy chairman), First Citizens' banking and finance specialist Gillian Thomas, the division’s medical liaison officer Edwina King-Ince and senior social worker Donnalyn Harry.
Health Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine welcomed the team and outlined their functions.
“The medical assistance committee is aimed at providing financial assistance to vulnerable persons in need of quality healthcare that is not available locally. Persons will be submitting their applications; that is, persons who have no insurance, persons who have quite a number of challenges arising from being medically unfit,” she said.
Speaking to Newsday on Friday, Adeyemi said there was no set limit on the maximum financial aid allowed for disbursement but each case would be assessed individually and depend on the availability of funds.
Davidson-Celestine said a number of the requests for financial assistance coming to the division were a result of complications due to non-communicable diseases, “so the Division of Health and Wellness will work towards ensuring that we can provide quality healthcare for those very vulnerable persons in our society.”
The secretary urged the committee members to be prudent, diligent, and committed in the performance of their duties.
“The health and well-being of our people are paramount, thus vulnerable persons need equal access to treatment.
“This committee is being appointed to assess the applications for medical assistance on our behalf. You will determine which of the services can be done locally and you will assist us by making recommendations to assist vulnerable persons.”
Davidson-Celestine noted that data from various health institutions throughout the island reveal that there is a high incidence of non-communicable diseases in the population.
“We must be cognisant of the fact that we cannot assist everyone, because we are challenged financially,” she said.
Assistant secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips said the committee’s recommendations for assistance will be informed by established protocols and guidelines.
“It is expected that the approved assessment criteria would be an applicable instrument used to assist with your deliberations during the review process,” she said as she urged each committee member to exercise due diligence “since the recommendations you make will be the determining variable that would distinguish whether or not an applicant fully satisfied the requirements for assistance.”
She also pleaded with the committee members to manage the public’s resources in a responsible way.
The division’s administrator, Dianne Baker-Henry, encouraged the committee to work as a team.
“You are required to work as a team because only teamwork will help us achieve the division’s goals and objectives. You are expected to demonstrate empathy, selflessness, humility and financial prudence to help persons who cannot help themselves… teamwork will make the dream work,” she said.
In his maiden address, the chairman said, “It is a very opportune moment for me to be considered to chair this committee. I promise it will not be taken lightly.”
He said he would depend on God and the professional expertise of the members to fulfil the committee's mandate.