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HEALTH CRISIS

Hospital owners' syndicate warns of health facility closures if funds remain inaccessible


Hospital owners' syndicate warns of health facility closures if funds remain inaccessible

“The hospitals will close their doors, we cannot continue like this,” reads a sign held by a caregiver demonstrating in front of the headquarters of the central bank in Beirut, on May 26, 2022. (Credit: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters)

BEIRUT — The hospital owners' syndicate called in a statement Saturday for authorities to intervene with Banque du Liban and the Association of Banks in Lebanon to allow hospitals to access their “hostaged” funds, warning that lack of access may force them to close or charge patients in cash.

Here’s what we know:

    • “Despite demands for banks to allow hospitals to use their bank accounts to pay for medical equipment and salaries, the situation hasn’t changed,” the statement said, adding that “all payments from insurance companies or social security were useless, as hospitals can’t use them.”

    • The syndicate's plea was addressed to caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, caretaker Labor Minister Mustafa Bayram and Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi.

    • The statement described the lack of access to funds as “suffocating.” Medical personnel protested at BDL’s Hamra headquarters on Thursday to make the same demands, while hospitals observed a two-day strike on Thursday and Friday during which operations were limited to urgent procedures and dialysis.

    • Lebanon has been facing an economic crisis since 2019 marked by the depreciation of the national currency and a severe lack of liquidity. Banks have since then imposed restrictions on the access depositors, including public and private institutions, have to their accounts despite the absence of a capital control law.


BEIRUT — The hospital owners' syndicate called in a statement Saturday for authorities to intervene with Banque du Liban and the Association of Banks in Lebanon to allow hospitals to access their “hostaged” funds, warning that lack of access may force them to close or charge patients in cash.Here’s what we know:    • “Despite demands for banks to allow hospitals to use...