‘Dhaman enters operating stage to serve expatriates’

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Company completes logistical prep to open in Dec

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 6: The Health Insurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman) is expected to open at the end of this year; taking into consideration that the project, which is included in Kuwait Vision 2035, has entered the operating stage to start serving expatriates, reports Al-Rai daily. It seems the operation of Dhaman for expatriates is still theoretical, although the operation date has yet to be specified. This depends on the ministries of Health, Interior and Public Works; as well as the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM) and Kuwait Municipality, which must take certain measures; otherwise, the operation of Dhaman will be disrupted.

In principle, Dhaman has completed the logistical preparations to open in December; as it already opened four health centers and the fifth is expected to open in November according to the Health Ministry. Meanwhile, sources confirmed that Dhaman has equipped the two hospitals with a capacity of 330 beds each; although the main target is 600 beds. However, it appears that the actual operation of Dhaman is not only related to the extent of the company’s preparations and the readiness of its structure. In practice, this necessitates completion of government procedures; otherwise, the company will continue to operate its centers as per the existing system in private health centers, which operate for commercial purposes rather than serving the expatriat

Perhaps, the crucial measure now is for the company to obtain medical licenses from the Ministry of Health for 150 doctors and technicians, in addition to 250 nurses. While the company has completed the procedural contract with the medical professionals needed for the operating stage, it is still waiting for approval. It takes about a month for these professionals to arrive and this could extend for months depending on the ministry’s acquisition of the required licenses.

Sources from the company revealed that the needed professionals were hired from abroad; such that the public or private medical sector in the country could avoid operational woes brought about by the possibility of attracting their existing medical staff to transfer to the company. This means both the ministries of health and interior must exert tremendous efforts, since the recruitment of medical staff from abroad necessitates the application of entry visas for them. Such procedures must be expedited without neglecting the need to open entrances and exits to various Dhaman sites to ensure the efficient operation of the company’s facilities, flexibility in the entry and exit of clients, and the ability of staff to perform their duties.

The Public Authority for Manpower is involved as well due to the need to obtain work permits for the entire medical staff; while the Ministry of Public Works is in charge of linking the two Dhaman hospitals with the main services like the rain and sewage networks to guarantee the safety of everyone. Kuwait Municipality comes in the picture due to the need to speed up the allocation of land for the establishment of health centers as part of the expansion plan. This step takes about two years, which requires moving early to avoid any disruption in the company’s expansion plan.

Achieving all of the above is necessary to start the operation of Dhaman, especially since the company’s officials are keen on expanding facilities within the first five years, such as increasing the number of health centers from five to 15 as a study has proven that five centers are not enough to serve the expatriates. Sources said the company will bear the additional cost resulting from this expansion.

In addition, the transfer of covered expatriates from the government sector to the company’s centers and hospitals will be done gradually. Therefore, an expatriate can continue availing the services of the health center and government hospital he is currently using even after the opening of Dhaman health centers, as long as he holds a valid residency that enables him to do so. Once his residency is renewed, he will be transferred to Dhaman.

However, this is not applicable to expatriates holding Article 20 visa (domestic worker) or Article 17 (government sector worker). Thus, not all expatriates will be required to pay the new insurance amount — KD130 per year, as a large segment will continue to benefit from the old insurance fee.

In practice, the process of transferring expatriates to Dhaman may take two years; assuming that the person covered renews his residence permit for a period of one year before the company started operating, in addition to the possibility of renewing the residence of some for two years. It is expected that the committee consisting of representatives from the company, ministries and relevant government agencies will hold a meeting soon to determine what each party needs to do in order to start the operation of Dhaman. This meeting is important as the members must fully understand the need to do their part to push through with the December opening.

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