By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Ministry of Health is investigating private hospitals that are charging COVID-19 patients alarming costs. This follows reports from social media platforms crying out loud that private health facilities are charging as much as 7 million and 5 million daily to provide care for the patients. According to other sources, some patients are asked to deposit a tune of 10 million before admission and the rest of the bill is to be determined by the state a patient is in per day.
However, Dr Monica Musenero, the senior presidential advisor on epidemics and newly appointed minister in charge of Science and Innovation in the office of the president said it is unrealistic for private health facilities to charge such exorbitant prices.
Musenero said much as the Covid-19 situation has escalated lately, the health ministry needs to come to an understanding with private health facilities to streamline costs of care.
“We are overwhelmed and people are seeking health care in private facilities but this does not mean that private providers should charge 60 million-plus to treat patients. This is a lot of money. This cannot be business as usual. We need to bring private health facilities on board and find a streamlined price because in the middle of an epidemic, we cannot charge people such amounts of money,” she said.
In the same vein, Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that what the private hospitals are doing is deplorable and needs to be stopped.
The Public had already cried out to the government to help rein in the facilities which prompted Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to warn that the government may be forced to intervene and put hospitals to order.
Before you opt for private facilities, dig deep into your pockets or accounts, and here is a breakdown of charges some private health facilities in the treatment of Covid-19.
Medipal Hospital, Acacia Avenue
For one to get Intensive Care Unit (ICU) services, be prepared with at least Shs 4 million per day. If you spend 10 days at the facility, you will pay Shs 40 million.
Norvik Hospital, Bombo Road
Here, people in ICU are charged Shs 5 million per day while those whose cases may be moderate are charged Shs 2.5 million per day.
Case Hospital, Buganda Road
At Case Hospital along Buganda Road, critically ill Covid-19 patients are charged Shs 3 million per day. If you spend two weeks, that translates into Shs 42 million.
If you can’t afford Shs 3million per day, don’t even pass at IHK. Here moderate cases are treated at Shs 1 million per day.
According to data from the health ministry, 950 patients are currently admitted to different health facilities in the country. However, many of these are admitted in private hospitals while some government facilities such as Mulago National Referral Hospital are only 24 percent occupied.
Aceng however quickly added that patients should seek care in facilities that they can afford adding that some patients are finding it hard to be referred to government facilities for care because they prefer private health facilities.
Dr Grace Sali, the Executive Director of the Uganda Health Federation, an umbrella body that brings together private health providers noted that the health ministry’s investigation will help cast a light on the cost of health care in the country.
Sali however said private health facilities cannot charge the same amount of money as government-funded facilities.