Auditors recommend comprehensive review of officers’ medical coverage

Report says officers should not have doubts about their healthcare coverage

An audit into the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s (RBPF) Reserves Branch has recommended that the police force revisit the government’s agreement with Colina Limited.

According to the audit, the agency did not have a copy of the agreement on file, and a document subsequently produced “appeared to be incomplete and altered from its original versions which generated much suspicion”.

“The SELT (senior executive leadership team) of the police force needs to revisit the government agreement with Colina Limited because the agency inclusive of the Reserves Branch did not have a copy of the agreement on file,” the audit read.

“The researchers had much difficulty in obtaining the document outlining coverage for the respective law enforcement agencies, particularly the Reserves Branch.

“However, after much dialogue, a document outlining portions of the medical and life insurance coverages was delivered.

“Consequently, the document appeared to be incomplete and altered from its original version which generated much suspicion.

“As such, a thorough review of the policies in consultation with Colina Limited was essential because, irrespective of status, any officer risking his/her life should not have doubts about their healthcare and life insurance coverage.”

The audit continued, “With respect to the nature of police work and the rapidly changing climate of safety and security in the country, a proper risk management of the current health benefits was essential because the insurance plan offered limited coverage,” the audit read.

“In light of the aforesaid, deployment of reserves should have coincided with considerations for the available coverage.”

Eyewitness News, which obtained the audit Tuesday, has extensively reported on its findings.

The audit was tabled Wednesday by Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Similarly, to police officers, the government contributes 100 percent coverage for both medical and life insurance for all officers, irrespective of work status.

Although terms differed marginally for career officers, reserves had similar medical and life insurance benefits.

“The healthcare program was only applicable to expenses incurred for medical treatment due to injuries or medical issues received in the line of duty only,” said auditors, who noted that reserve officers only had the same powers as career officers when on ‘active duty’.

The medical coverage had a lifetime cap of $2 million for those under 70 and $500,000 for officers age 70 and over.

Reserves were entitled to life insurance coverage only if accidental death and/or dismemberment were to occur in the line of duty, entitling them to a $200,000 flat benefit amount, according to the audit.

Unsatisfactory

A survey among the reserves found that 81 percent or 230 reserves felt the coverage provided was unsatisfactory.

Thirteen percent (38 reserves) found the coverage satisfactory. Another five percent (14 reserves) did not respond.

A total of 282 reserves were survey. There were 1,255 reserves at the time of the audit.