Bid to avert lawsuits, damage to reputation
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 25: The Ministry of Health has addressed the Ministry of Finance to transfer 200 million dinars to the Kuwaiti Health Office in Washington, to clear what it calls ‘accumulated’ bills and prevent the hospitals in the US from filing lawsuits against the Kuwaiti Health Office in the US which will damage the reputation of Kuwait abroad, reports Al-Anba daily. This came after the Council of Ministers mandated the Ministry of Health to coordinate with the Ministry of Finance to study the claims of American hospitals and take the necessary measures to preserve the health of patients and the reputation of Kuwait abroad.
Informed health sources told the daily that the Ministry of Health has been suffering for years due to the decrease in the amount approved for treatment abroad by the authorities, which resulted in the accumulation of claims annually. This made the Ministry of Health unable to pay these bills because of insufficient funds to cover all expenses and the failure to comply with the payment of these claims has led to some hospitals and treatment agencies abroad refusing to receive Kuwaiti patients.
The sources explained the budget earmarked for treatment abroad during 2020/2021 is 170 million dinars and this amount cannot be used to cover past claims, especially since 50 percent of this money is spent on patient allowances and their travel tickets, health insurance for students and medicines required by the Ministry of Health, as well as administrative expenses for health offices such as salaries, rents, etc.
Earlier the Washington Post had reported the government of Kuwait owes some of the top hospitals in the United States nearly $700 million in unpaid bills for sophisticated medical care provided to Kuwaiti nationals, a debt the frustrated institutions have spent years trying to collect.
The 45 medical centers — which include Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MD Anderson in Houston and others — have worked unsuccessfully on their own and through the State Department to recoup payment for specialized cancer, heart, pediatric and other care provided to thousands of people from the Persian Gulf nation, one of the wealthiest in the world. The State Department had said in a statement that “it has raised this issue with the Kuwaiti government and is working to find a resolution.”