Healthcare facilities may soon refuse to receive kidney dialysis patients who are covered by the Health Ministry, Lebanon's syndicate of hospital owners said in a statement Thursday, claiming the ministry hadn't yet paid them their dues for 2022 and that patients would need to pay for treatment from their own pockets.
Such payments from the Health Ministry require a decision from cabinet, which currently cannot meet as it is in caretaker mode since legislative elections in May.
According to the union, hospitals will soon need to charge patients covered by the ministry for the cost of their dialysis treatments.
The Health Ministry recently signed an annex to the contract with the hospitals for 2022, as well as a contract for 2023, so that it can pay the contributions due to the hospitals, the union said in its statement Thursday. However, for these contracts to become valid, cabinet must issue a decree, "something that seems impossible at the moment," the union added. "This means that hospitals will not receive, the contributions for the year 2022 in the near future."
Hospitals that are suffering from Lebanon's dire economic straits "will be forced to refuse patients covered by the Ministry of Health," the union said. Healthcare facilities will also no longer be able to "provide medications and medical supplies for patients waiting for dialysis, and will be forced to bill them for the cost of treatment. This also applies to patients receiving chemotherapy," the statement warned.
The union says it has "turned to the [caretaker] Prime Minister to ensure that hospitals get their due."