Abu Dhabi hospitals reminded over co-payments

ABU DHABI // Private hospitals and medical centres in the emirate will have their contracts terminated if they do not collect co-payments of 20 per cent from Emirati patients, Daman warns. In a letter to private healthcare providers, the health insurance company said they should not “under any circumstances waive, reduce or decrease a co-payment […]

ABU DHABI // Private hospitals and medical centres in the emirate will have their contracts terminated if they do not collect co-payments of 20 per cent from Emirati patients, Daman warns.

In a letter to private healthcare providers, the health insurance company said they should not “under any circumstances waive, reduce or decrease a co-payment and/or deductible”. Doing so would be a breach of contract, Daman said.

“Daman shall not hesitate to terminate any contract with a provider should this come to our attention,” the company said in a July 18 memo.

Daman said it had heard from several healthcare providers about the difficulties they faced in collecting co-payments. It told them to inform patients who were unable to pay to contact the customer service of the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (Haad).

Clancey Francisco Po, Burjeel Hospital’s chief executive, said although he had urged the Government to reconsider the co-payment scheme for long-term patients, his hospital was following the rules.

Patients who cannot afford co-payments are not admitted.

Mr Po said there had been few complaints from Emiratis who did not need long-term healthcare or dialysis. Burjeel Hospital has 49 patients who require dialysis, 60 per cent of whom are Emiratis.

NMC Healthcare said it was obliged to give invoices to patients and could not refuse to treat them.

“What should we do? Should we arrest them?” said Dr B R Shetty, the company’s executive vice-chairman and managing director.

“It is our responsibility to treat any patient who comes to us. We will not and cannot reject them, force them to pay, argue or even consider calling the police on a patient who cannot afford to pay.”

He has told his staff to treat patients first and issue invoices only after treatment. “My policy is, don’t look at the purse, look at the pulse,” said Dr Shetty.

Three long-term healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi – Amana Healthcare Medical and Rehabilitation Hospital, Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Centre, and ProVita International Medical Centre – also sent their invoices to Daman.

Dr Howard Podolsky, chief executive of Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Centre, said it was giving invoices to all its patients and their families in keeping with instructions from Haad and Daman.

The invoice has a box for patients to tick if they are unable to make the co-payment.

“Haad has instructed us to send any patient or their family to them, should they have any concerns in their ability to pay the 20 per cent,” he said.

Cambridge Medical gave patients the hotline number of the authorities and offered to send a representative to accompany them for a meeting with the authorities.

“We will not lobby, bargain or force any patient to pay the co-payment,” said Dr Podolsky.

salnuwais@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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