Kuwait to reduce medical fees?
According to reports, the Kuwait government is considering an intervention toward the private health sector with the intention of forcing providers to reduce their medical treatment and services fees nationwide.
During a recent meeting, the country’s Ministry of Health officials recommended measures to drive down fees at private hospitals and medical facilities. Currently, there are no specific government rules that regulate private clinic charges. In fact some private hospitals/clinics charge their customers totally random amounts, patients argue.
Kuwaiti citizens and expats are often forced to attend private medical centers because of problems faced at free or low-cost government facilities – notorious for long queues and waiting times. The private alternatives are significantly more expensive, and patients can be charged simply to open a file before any treatment is even commenced, reports suggest.
The government recently launched a trial to segregate expats and nationals at public hospitals and clinics in a bid to reduce waiting times for citizens. During this 6-month trial Kuwaitis will be given priority for medical treatment during the morning, with non-nationals only accessing doctors in the afternoon, unless the situation is an emergency.
Staff will also be segregated according to their nationality, with Kuwaitis working in the morning and expat doctors in the afternoon.
The move is seen as favorable to Kuwaitis. In an interview published in the Kuwait Times one patient commented: “It’s about time that the government will set the standard for the private medical treatment, after all they (private hospitals/clinics) are partners in caring and giving treatment to people of Kuwait.”
A final decision is expected to be made by Minister of Health Dr Haywf in the coming days.