The financial difficulties that hospitals in Lebanon have been facing due to the economic meltdown are forcing some of the most prominent among them to stop their services soon.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), Lebanese American University Medical Center – Rizk Hospital, Saint Georges University Hospital, Hôpital Notre-Dame des Secours, Hotel-Dieu University Hospital, and Mount Lebanon Hospital have issued a joint statement.
In the statement, the university hospitals apologized for their “inability to continue providing curative and surgical medical services in the coming period.”
One of the reasons provided for this decision is the recent request of the Medical Equipment & Devices Importers’ Syndicate to the hospitals that, in order to continue receiving medical supplies, they must pay all their dues, 85% in cash in Lebanese pounds, and 15% in foreign currency.
Another reason, as specified by the statement, is the Pharmaceutical Industries Syndicate’s payment conditions, which force hospital bills for medicines to be paid in cash in Lebanese pounds.
For context, hospital bills in Lebanon are usually paid by public and private funds and social security services by check or bank transfer, not in cash.
In the meantime, the statement indicated, there is already a shortage in the aforementioned hospitals’ stocks of supplies and drugs, as well as a lack of many surgical supplies “that are usually required for each case separately.”
All of the above, added to the fact that hospitals “cannot ask patients, especially under the current circumstances, to pay part of their bills in cash,” has ultimately forced the six hospitals to make the decision to stop providing their services soon.
The hospitals stressed that they hold responsible the authorities behind the decisions and circulars that led to this problem for “what might threaten the health and social security of citizens and the lives of patients, especially those with chronic diseases.”
Finally, they called on the officials in charge of health, economy, and finance in Lebanon to take immediate measures to address and correct this defect, which the hospitals said will accelerate the collapse of Lebanon’s health and hospital sector.