Egypt’s health minister Hala Zayed said on Monday the cost of treating coronavirus patients at private hospitals will be strictly monitored.
At a press conference attended by the head of the Chamber of Health Service Providers in the private sector Alaa Abdel-Meguid and representatives of major private hospitals, the minister stressed the necessity of upholding patients’ lives over profits.
Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that the minister directed the free treatment and licensing sector to intensify inspection tours at private hospitals providing coronavirus treatment nationwide to ensure their compliance with state directives.
He added that legal measures will be taken against violators.
Abdel-Meguid denounced the overcharging practices at some private sector hospitals for coronavirus patients, calling on all hospitals to abide by state regulations.
He stressed that the private health sector is a key partner with the state in providing health services to all patients.
On Monday, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal warned that the Egyptian state might use the country’s emergency law to prevent private hospitals from overcharging coronavirus patients.
Abdel-Aal said the state can use the powers granted by the recent amendments to the emergency law to compel private hospitals to stop overcharging patients in such critical times.
Abdel-Aal's statement came in response to an urgent statement delivered by MP Magdi Morshed, deputy head of the health affairs committee who said that private hospitals have been overcharging coronavirus patients and that the state should intervene.
On Tuesday, Egypt's health ministry set a fixed cost for COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals ranging from EGP 1,500 to 10,000 (approximately $90 to $600).
Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly decided last Monday to cap the cost of coronavirus treatment at private medical facilities to correct some "exaggerated prices."