BEIRUT — Caretaker Health Minister Firass Abiad announced Friday that payments due to hospitals for dialysis treatment are secured, stressing that he will not "be complacent" toward those attempting to charge additional fees to patients requiring this type of care.
"Following discussions with the Acting Governor of the Banque du Liban (BDL), Dr. Wassim Manssouri, an account has been opened, in accordance with BDL's conditions, for the release of an advance of LL1 trillion for the benefit of the Ministry of Health in order to settle the arrears of hospitals related to dialysis," the ministry's statement said.
They added that BDL would begin releasing the funds concerned "at the end of next week to cover the overruns of ceilings."
According to the statement, the Ministry of Finance has transferred the payments of amounts due for the first quarter of this year to BDL.
"The Ministries of Health and Finance are currently working on preparing the invoices for the following four months, which will be forwarded to the Banque du Liban within the next two weeks," the text adds.
Abiad said he is committed to "accelerating" this process.
"The Ministry of Health's top priority is to look after patients' interests and treatment conditions, a responsibility shared between the ministry, hospitals and doctors, and the ministry will in no way tolerate any entity charging patients illegal surcharges," he further assured.
In April 2023, the Minister announced that "dialysis will be priced according to the dollar exchange rate" on the parallel market, following a meeting with the relevant officials. The greenback is trading at around LL 89,500, while the official rate is stuck at LL 15,000.
In 2022, the syndicate of hospital owners in Lebanon warned that health establishments could refuse patients undergoing dialysis who are covered by the Ministry of Health, claiming that the latter did not pay them the amounts due for 2022. These payments are decided by the government, which in its current caretaker form cannot meet regularly to approve them. The union added that hospitals will be obliged to bill dialysis patients covered by the Ministry for the cost of their treatment.