Tripoli assures medical bills to be paid soon as Jordan hospitals stop admitting more Libyans

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libyans receiving jordanian medical treatment
Wounded Libyans receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Amman, Jordan. Photo - Jordan Times

A Libyan official said on Saturday his government will hire a Jordanian firm to help process financial claims filed by hospitals in Amman that treated around 55,000 injured patients flown from Libya over the past year.

Private Hospitals Association chairman Fawzi Hamouri and director of the Libyan health office in Jordan Ali Bin Jlayel met on Saturday to solve contentious issues that delayed Libya’s payment of debts owed to Jordanian hospitals treating wounded Libyans.

The Libyan government still owes millions of dollars for treatment and services provided to thousands of Libyans by hospitals, doctors and hotels in Amman. The Libyans came to Jordan for treatment at the expense of their government.

The meeting concluded in a deal which tasked a Jordanian medical insurance management company to process all the bills, which would be paid when the audit was completed and the money allocated by the Libyan government arrives.

Libya owes Jordan more than $200 million in medical and hotel bills for tens of thousands of Libyans who were flown for hospital treatment in Amman after the overthrow of Gaddafi’s regime in an armed uprising.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, said the negotiation team highlighted the importance of maintaining good relations between the two countries and decided to work on enhancing cooperation between Jordanian private hospitals and the Libyan health sector in the long run.

Jordan Private Hospitals Association chairman Fawzi Hammouri urged the processing and auditing of bills on a top priority basis so they can be paid within a 30-day deadline, as stipulated in the Libyan-Jordanian Medical Cooperation Protocol.

Unwelcome Treatment

Hospitals affiliated with the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) said they will stop admitting Libyan patients except emergency cases and those who can pay cash up front, a PHA representative said on Saturday.

PHA President Awni Bashir said the decision came in response to unfulfilled promises by the Libyan authorities to pay outstanding dues to the Kingdom’s hospitals.

He explained that some of the 22 private hospitals that admitted Libyan patients have financial obligations to medical supply companies and will not be able to operate if they do not receive payment from the Libyan authorities.

Speaking at the conference, JHA President Michael Nazzal said the Kingdom’s hotels are facing the same problem and warned that some of them will not be able to operate if Libyan authorities do not accelerate the process of paying their bills.

The Jordanian health representatives said Libyans owed $105 million, of which around $30 million has been paid.

According to Nazzal, there are still 12,000 Libyans receiving medical treatment in the country’s hotels.

Both Nazzal and Bashir urged the Jordanian government to intervene to ensure that Libyan authorities pay their outstanding bills.

The Libyan government’s programme to treat the war wounded abroad has come under intense criticism after reports of state funds lavishly spent on cosmetic treatments, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and stipends for spouses and relatives surfaced during the last few months.

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