Egyptian MPs criticize private hospitals over high coronavirus treatment fees

The Egyptian House of Representatives, headed by Ali Abdelaal, criticized some private hospitals because of the high costs of their coronavirus treatment services, with MPs describing the fees as “terrifying” and “horrific.”

Abdelaal said that Egypt is witnessing special circumstances similar to the conditions of war, and that the president has the right to activate the country’s emergency law if need be.

“I hope that the state will not reach this step,” he added.

He called on private hospital owners to adhere to their sense of patriotism, because facing the pandemic requires all of the state’s capabilities, whether public or private.

All the world’s countries have used the emergency law to manage some private hospitals to help combat the pandemic, according to Abdeaal.

MP Magdy Murshid, meanwhile, attacked private hospitals saying that their pricing is exaggerated and does not take into account the exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic worldwide.

According to Murshid, European countries and the US have used emergency laws to force private hospitals to provide health care services to COVID-19 patients at reasonable prices, but in Egypt private hospitals are still taking advantage of ill people.

“People die from coronavirus, and they also die from bills that they pay for treatment in private hospitals,” he continued.

Egypt’s Chamber of Health Care Providers on Thursday called on the Ministry of Health to review the price limits that it recently set for coronavirus treatment in private sector hospitals.

The chamber added it does not object to the establishment of price regulations on the services provided in hospitals, provided that those regulations take into account the real cost of services.

The chamber’s board held an urgent meeting on Wednesday to discuss complaints filed by private hospital owners against the new regulations.

Chamber Spokesperson Ahmed Nazih, in a special statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm, said that the Ministry of Health has not met the needs of private hospitals for coronavirus medications, including hydroxychlorine and other anti-viral drugs that are not available in the market.

He added that private hospitals bear a heavy cost for managing to provide these medications, and that they also provide additional bonuses for medical staff that agree to deal with infected cases.

Egypt’s Health and Population Ministry announced Tuesday new treatment prices for coronavirus patients in private hospitals.

A statement from health ministry outlined that the cost of isolation within the internal department will range from LE1,500 to LE3,000, while the cost of isolation in intensive care with a ventilator ranges from LE7,500 to LE10,000 while intensive care without a ventilator costs around LE5,000 to LE7,000.

The prices are per day, the statement said.

The new prices were implemented on Tuesday, with the ministry warning that any hospitals that do not comply with these prices will be closed.

The ministry had previously received a barrage of complaints regarding expensive treatment prices in non-government hospitals, prices that do not correspond with service costs.

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