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‘Libya still owes Jordan $300m in unpaid hospital bills’

By Laila Azzeh - Jul 11,2017 - Last updated at Jul 11,2017

AMMAN – Several years after receiving batches of injured Libyans who came to Jordan seeking treatment during the civil war, private hospitals are still waiting to be reimbursed. 

Libyan authorities’ outstanding dues to Private hospitals over medical bills amount up to $300 million, according to an informed source. 

"The problem is that, we are dealing here with
multisources in Libya, and not just one, as there is no national unity government that we can negotiate with to pay our dues," president of the Private Hospital Association (PHA), Fawzi Hammouri, told The Jordan Times on Monday.

Despite receiving a number of delegations representing several Libyan bodies to discuss the matter over the past few months, the issue has remained unresolved, placing “huge” financial pressure on private hospitals, according to Hammouri. 

“The delay in paying the dues does not only affect hospitals, but companies, doctors and vendors alike,” he highlighted, saying that the Libyan side has been promising to pay the dues for several years now. 

“Many committees have been formed to follow up on the matter, only to be dissolved later on without having resolved the issue,” Hammouri said, noting that the PHA did not consider taking legal action against the Libyan side “in respect of the brotherly relationship between the two countries”. 

In remarks made to The Jordan Times earlier this year, he said that the health minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord visited Jordan to discuss the issue, but noted that the Libyan embassy in Amman does not represent the Libyan Government of National Accord, a matter that hinders the payment process. 

On the other hand, Hammouri noted that the PHA met with Prime Minister Hani Mulki two months ago and he promised to look for solutions to the issue, such as receiving the payments in oil rather than cash. 

“But, still, nothing was made,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the PHA president noted that the government’s decision to restrict visa issuance for a number of nationalities has hit the medical tourism hard, paving the way for other countries to become a favoured destination for healthcare tourism, such as Turkey, India, Tunis and Egypt. 

 

Under current regulations, hospitals are responsible for providing a “guarantee” for nationals coming from countries with restricted entry to Jordan, he explained.
But hospital managements cannot always take the risk of sponsoring a visa for a patient whose background they do not know, Hammouri said.

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