Former premier set to get million dollar payout

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 30, CMC  – Health Minister Kim Wilson has disclosed that doctor and former Bermuda premier Ewart Brown is likely to receive more than US$1.2 million in total from the public purse for financial losses suffered at his two medical clinics.

Wilson defended the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) government’s decision to pay the compensation to 72-year-old Brown in an interview with the Royal Gazette Newspaper, describing him as having suffered “economic sanctions” at the hands of the former One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) administration when it slashed the fees for diagnostic imaging scans in June 2017.

Wilson said in addition to a $600,000 payment , Brown has since been given another $220,000 in financial supplements and her ministry estimated he would receive a further $420,000.

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that detectives are still investigating the two clinics, Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget parish and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s parish, over allegations they ordered medically unnecessary tests for patients to boost profits.

A police spokesman said: “The matter is still under investigation and, as such, no further comment can be made at this time.”

The allegations have been denied by Brown, who was premier between 2006 and 2010 before retiring from politics, and he has not been charged with any offence.

In 2017, Brown was named as a “non-party co-conspirator” in a lawsuit brought by the former OBA government against the Lahey Clinic in the United States

The civil complaint alleged that he and Lahey profited from excessive and medically unnecessary scans on patients at the expense of the public purse — a claim both Brown and the hospital denied.

That case was dismissed by a Massachusetts judge in March and dropped by the PLP government after it returned to power in last year’s general election.

The Ministry of Health said in January that financial supplements granted to Brown’s clinics and to the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) due to the fee cuts were “in order to help ensure CT and MRI services are readily available to the public”.

But Wilson told the Gazette the decision to pay public funds to Brown’s two private clinics was not an attempt to ensure that his CT and MRI scanning units stayed open and there was no discussion with him about keeping them open. The CT scanner at Brown-Darrell closed in January and will reopen in November.

Asked if she had politically interfered on Brown’s behalf, as he requested she do in an e-mail sent last August, which was disclosed under public access to information, Wilson replied: “The government felt that we were required to take positive steps to address a decision or an action of the former government that saw drastic fee reductions in diagnostic imaging to the community providers, as well as Bermuda Hospitals Board.”

Wilson said the sharp fee cuts for scans came about because the OBA administration ignored advice from technical officers at both the Bermuda Health Council and the Ministry of Health to apply a new fairer methodology for calculating fees to the entire BHB fee structure, not just diagnostic imaging fees.

Former Health Minister Jeanne Atherden, who resigned last week as Opposition Leader after losing a vote of no confidence last week among fellow OBA MPs, said the PLP claim that she ignored technical advice was false.

“It may be that the timing of the accusation provides cover for a decision that the government felt it could not easily defend,” she added.

Atherden asked why the PLP did not raise concerns about the change in fees for diagnostic scans when a bill was passed in parliament in May of last year when the OBA was still in power.

“There was no debate or question raised regarding the funding policy for medical scans and no ‘wrong’ was identified in this regard,” she said.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 30, CMC  – Health Minister Kim Wilson has disclosed that doctor and former Bermuda premier Ewart Brown is likely to receive more than US$1.2 million in total from the public purse for financial losses suffered at his two medical clinics.

Wilson defended the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) government’s decision to pay the compensation to 72-year-old Brown in an interview with the Royal Gazette Newspaper, describing him as having suffered “economic sanctions” at the hands of the former One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) administration when it slashed the fees for diagnostic imaging scans in June 2017.

Wilson said in addition to a $600,000 payment , Brown has since been given another $220,000 in financial supplements and her ministry estimated he would receive a further $420,000.

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Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that detectives are still investigating the two clinics, Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget parish and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s parish, over allegations they ordered medically unnecessary tests for patients to boost profits.

A police spokesman said: “The matter is still under investigation and, as such, no further comment can be made at this time.”

The allegations have been denied by Brown, who was premier between 2006 and 2010 before retiring from politics, and he has not been charged with any offence.

In 2017, Brown was named as a “non-party co-conspirator” in a lawsuit brought by the former OBA government against the Lahey Clinic in the United States

The civil complaint alleged that he and Lahey profited from excessive and medically unnecessary scans on patients at the expense of the public purse — a claim both Brown and the hospital denied.

That case was dismissed by a Massachusetts judge in March and dropped by the PLP government after it returned to power in last year’s general election.

The Ministry of Health said in January that financial supplements granted to Brown’s clinics and to the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) due to the fee cuts were “in order to help ensure CT and MRI services are readily available to the public”.

But Wilson told the Gazette the decision to pay public funds to Brown’s two private clinics was not an attempt to ensure that his CT and MRI scanning units stayed open and there was no discussion with him about keeping them open. The CT scanner at Brown-Darrell closed in January and will reopen in November.

Asked if she had politically interfered on Brown’s behalf, as he requested she do in an e-mail sent last August, which was disclosed under public access to information, Wilson replied: “The government felt that we were required to take positive steps to address a decision or an action of the former government that saw drastic fee reductions in diagnostic imaging to the community providers, as well as Bermuda Hospitals Board.”

Wilson said the sharp fee cuts for scans came about because the OBA administration ignored advice from technical officers at both the Bermuda Health Council and the Ministry of Health to apply a new fairer methodology for calculating fees to the entire BHB fee structure, not just diagnostic imaging fees.

Former Health Minister Jeanne Atherden, who resigned last week as Opposition Leader after losing a vote of no confidence last week among fellow OBA MPs, said the PLP claim that she ignored technical advice was false.

“It may be that the timing of the accusation provides cover for a decision that the government felt it could not easily defend,” she added.

Atherden asked why the PLP did not raise concerns about the change in fees for diagnostic scans when a bill was passed in parliament in May of last year when the OBA was still in power.

“There was no debate or question raised regarding the funding policy for medical scans and no ‘wrong’ was identified in this regard,” she said.