The Lebanese Social Medical Association, headed by Professor Raef Rida, is calling for a decision to have foreign patients pay in U.S. dollars instead of Lebanese pounds.
Prof. Rida made the request in a statement on Tuesday, addressing the Order of Physicians.
He said foreign patients should pay in dollars in exchange for examinations, laboratory and radiology tests, and medical and surgical operations.
This is because these people do not suffer like Lebanese citizens from the economic crisis, and it is not reasonable for them to exchange dollars on the black market and give the doctor his examination fee in Lebanese pounds, Rida argued.
The Professor called upon the Order of Physicians to “play its natural role” and take “the urgent decision out of a sense of responsibility toward doctors” in order to reduce emigration and improve doctors’ living conditions.
In case such a decision is made, all institutions and clinics must adhere to it so that no one would “benefit at the expense of the doctors’ pain.”
Prof. Rida also urged the Order to give doctors the freedom to receive fees from Lebanese nationals and residents by taking each patient’s circumstances into consideration.
This would allow doctors to continue instead of closing their clinics and deciding to leave the country, he concluded.
Since the onset of the economic crisis in Lebanon, hundreds of doctors and nurses have left the country, seeking better opportunities abroad.
This has had a negative impact on the healthcare sector, which is also being challenged by shortages of fuel, medicine, electricity, and medical equipment.
*Photo used for illustrative purposes only.