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Private hospitals ‘mull raising fees for non-Jordanians over high electricity costs’

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 17,2014 - Last updated at Feb 17,2014

AMMAN — The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) is considering increasing the fees of healthcare services offered to non-Jordanian patients at the Kingdom’s private hospitals, its president said on Monday.

“The proposal comes after the electricity price hikes for private hospitals, in addition to the hospitals’ need to increase the salaries of their employees,” PHA President Fawzi Hammouri told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.

He stressed, however, that Jordanians are to be excluded from the possible hike.

“Hospitals pay 259 fils per kilowatt hour [kw/h], while hotels pay 160 fils and factories pay 60 fils for the same electricity consumption,” Hammouri said, noting that the PHA seeks further support from the government when it comes to electricity tariffs.

He added that in July 2011, the electricity tariff for hospitals was 113 fils kw/h. Due to the latest increase in prices, some private hospitals’ electricity bills increased by almost JD1 million.

Hamouri noted that hospitals cannot reduce their energy consumption.

“Operating rooms have to be well-lit, and the air has to be filtered and cooled,” he said. “Patients’ rooms also have to be kept at certain temperatures.”

Hamouri noted that hospitals worldwide “and even local public hospitals” charge foreigners more than citizens, adding that some public hospitals in the Kingdom charge non-Jordanian patients 40 per cent more than Jordanians.

“The association is studying alternatives other than increasing medical fees to sustain Jordan’s competitiveness in providing healthcare services,” he said.

The PHA, which includes 46 member hospitals, submitted a proposal in May 2013 to the Ministry of Energy and to the Electricity Regulatory Commission to establish a 15 megawatt solar power station to generate electricity, but the association is yet to receive a reply, according to a PHA statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times.

Under an agreement signed in August 2013, the PHA and the Jordan Renewable Energy Society are planning to launch a project to establish a 15-megawatt solar power plant to provide electricity for tens of hospitals across Amman.

The project is aimed at cutting down hospitals’ electricity bills, which reportedly account for over 20 per cent of operational costs, with the average 200-bed medical centre paying over JD90,000 per month.

Once established, the plant is expected to lead to an immediate 20 per cent drop in private hospitals’ energy bills, with the association expecting to recoup initial building costs after a five-year period. 

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