PHA given $3 mil. to cover overtime payments
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) was recently given nearly $3 million to assist with its overtime payments for healthcare workers until the end of the fiscal year.
In January, an internal memorandum revealed that the PHA was in “a precarious financial position” after exhausting its overtime budget for the year.
The document also revealed that the authority had spent more than $6 million on overtime payments, thus resulting in a $2 million deficit.
On Tuesday, Sands told The Nassau Guardian, “We have funded appropriate overtime and certainly moving toward the end of the fiscal year the challenge that we had will be remedied by budgetary allocations to deal with it.”
He continued, “…We continue to try to control the overtime expense, a part of that is due to staff deployments, staff shortages, overcrowding, et cetera.”
When pressed for more details, the minister said, “We would’ve covered the anticipated overage through the end of the budget year [which is] probably around $3 million.”
Sands said the government has taken the strategy “to try to minimize structural waste in health”.
“We have done a thorough, multiple past review of our systems and processes, all of [our] contracts, staff complements, the way we deploy, the way [we] procure, et cetera, et cetera,” he said.
In April, another memorandum noted that the authority had started paying out $750,000 in overtime owed to employees for February 2019.
Overtime payments for February were delayed due to extenuating circumstances, the PHA said at the time.
In September 2018, PHA Managing Director Catherine Weech said the authority was “fiscally challenged”.
“We recognize that we are at a crossroad and that the current business model must be changed to ensure a sustainable healthcare system,” Weech said.
“In order to shed more light, it is important to restate that PHA continues to be fiscally challenged.”
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice