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Ministry suspends decision on patient referrals

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 31,2013 - Last updated at Jan 31,2013

AMMAN — The health ministry on Thursday suspended a decision taken earlier this week to treat patients referred by the Royal Court and the Prime Ministry on par with public health insurance beneficiaries.

The ministry had informed university hospitals, the Royal Medical Services and the King Hussein Cancer Centre to charge patients referred by the Royal Court and the Prime Ministry 30 per cent of the treatment cost.

The decision sparked objections from this category of patients, who complained to the ministry.

In a statement sent to The Jordan Times on Thursday, the ministry said it had alerted these hospitals not to implement the decision “until it issues new regulations”.

The government deducts 3 per cent from the basic salary of public health insurance beneficiaries.

If a doctor at a public hospital refers a beneficiary to a private or military hospital with which the ministry has a standing agreement, the ministry covers the full cost of treating the patient.

If, however, patients go to a non-public hospital without a referral from one the ministry’s hospitals, they must pay 30 per cent of their bill unless the hospital in question has an agreement with the ministry, in which case the patient pays 20 per cent. Non-beneficiaries referred to public hospitals by the Royal Court or the Prime Ministry are treated like public insurance holders, regardless of their actual insurance condition.

According to official figures, 87.2 per cent of the population has health insurance coverage, with around 2.5 million Jordanians covered by public health insurance, or 41.8 per cent of the total number of insured citizens.

Every year, the ministry pays an average of JD256 million to private, university and military hospitals for patient referrals.

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