Cabinet allocates $280 million for hospitals. Hospitals treating refugees get higher shares - Lebanon

Cabinet allocates $280 million for hospitals
Hospitals treating refugees get higher shares
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A Cabinet decree issued on Thursday (March 14) allocated around $280 million to cover hospitalization fees of patients treated at the expense of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in 2013. $60 million will be allocated to 29 public hospitals and $150 million will be distributed to more than 115 private hospitals. The remaining funds will go to elderly homes and specialized treatment centers.

The fund covers three categories of beneficiaries. The first category includes hospitals offering short-term treatment. The second category includes elderly homes and mental treatment centers. The third category includes centers that offer specialized treatments, such as radiology and physiotherapy centers. The funds will be distributed according to contracts signed with the designated hospitals upon a decision issued by the MoPH. The decree stipulated that the chosen hospitals should be distributed fairly among the regions so that there are at least three in each caza, if available.

The number of public hospital beds does not exceed 15 percent of the total hospital beds. Sleimen Haroun, President of the Syndicate of Hospitals, said there are 9,000 beds in private hospitals, compared to 1,200 beds in public ones. “Most public hospitals are not equipped to admit specific medical cases, except for the Rafic Hariri Hospital,” said Haroun.

Dr. Fadi Alameh, Member of the Syndicate of Hospitals, said: “The budgets allocated are decided based on the needs of each hospital.” The MoPH is transferring funds from the budgets allocated to private hospitals to those of public hospitals due to the increasing number of patients in the latter. “The MoPh increased the budgets of hospitals located in the regions where Syrian refugees are staying,” Alameh said.

Among the designated private hospitals, the Ain Wazein Hospital received around $5 million, the North Medical Center received $4 million, the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) received $3 million, and the Sacré-Coeur Hospital received $1.4 million.

The biggest allocation, $17 million, went to the public Rafic Hariri University Hospital (RHUH). “If a hospital exceeds its allocated spending ceiling, the MoPH could increase its budget for the coming year,” said Alameh.

According to Alameh, there are no clear-cut strategies for the hospitalization sector. “To establish new public hospitals, the government needs to make large investments and hire qualified staff. In the meantime, it is allocating bigger budgets for contracts with private hospitals to fill the gap,” he said.

Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Mar 15, 2013