The Health Services Authority (HSA), following an open tender process, has entered into an agreement with a local law firm, HSM, to assist with the collection of outstanding debts owed by patients who have failed to maintain financial commitments given to the Authority to pay amounts due for medical services received at HSA facilities.The agreement with HSM Chambers was executed after an open tender process undertaken by the HSA in 2017 for debt collection services.Under the terms of the agreement, the HSA will transfer outstanding patient debts to the firm after all other efforts have been exhausted by the Authority to collect payments.HSM will undertake an initial pilot project based on a representative sample from the broad range outstanding amounts owed which the HSA will transfer to the firm for collection including, if necessary, legal action to recover the amounts. Patients with outstanding balances now have a grace period to make payments directly to the HSA before further accounts are turned over to the law firm for debt collection including action through the Courts.As part of any legal proceedings initiated by HSM, the names and amounts due will be made public.Chief Executive Officer of the Health Services Authority, Ms. Lizzette Yearwood said this action is a last resort in an effort to recover more than $70m owed to the Authority by patients who have reneged on their commitments despite repeated attempts by the HSA to secure payment.Ms. Yearwood said the substantial amount owed by patients, if collected, could make a significant difference in further enhancing healthcare services provided by the HSA for all residents in the Cayman Islands. She noted that "if this money was collected and reinvested in the HSA it could make a substantial difference enabling the hiring of more doctors and nurses, acquiring additional equipment and technology, expansion of needed clinical space to ensure continuity of safe, high quality healthcare services that are accessible to all.”Ms. Yearwood emphasised that whilst the HSA will continue to fulfil its mandate as the national healthcare system for the Cayman Islands by ensuring no one is denied emergency medical care at its facilities, it must ensure financial sustainability by collecting revenue it earns for services provided. She added that the Authority would continue to provide support to patients who are uninsured or underinsured with accessing available government programs, other support mechanisms and facilitating pre-payment plans for elective medical services at the HSA.Mr Huw Moses, Managing Partner of the law firm HSM Chambers, said the firm will exercise all due diligence in its pursuit of debt collection. It will operate under procedures and protocols agreed with the HSA including strict requirements on the initiation of legal proceedings for outstanding payments, which can only be undertaken after all other efforts have been exhausted.He urged that any patient contacted by his firm should immediately engage in a constructive dialogue with HSM. Ignoring correspondence from HSM and failing to contact HSM, after a request for payment was made, could also result in the matter being brought before the Courts.Mr Moses acknowledged the critical role of the HSA as the national healthcare provider and the facility of first resort by those with medical needs. He stressed the importance of its financial sustainability to ensure continuity of healthcare services for all people in the Cayman Islands. He stated, “This can only be done if everyone pays for their medical care which allows the HSA to have the resources to purchase medical supplies, recruit high caliber clinical staff and invest in technology and facilities to meet the healthcare needs of our community.” Click here - WATCH our VIDEO to Learn more about HSA and HSM’s partnership to recover outstanding debts owed to the Authority. Help us provide the best care to our islands -END-