Row over fees


By Rebecca Kuku
HEALTH Secretary Pascoe Kase has reminded hospital authorities that they have no authority to charge fees to patients.
Kase was responding to a circular from Port Moresby General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Umesh Gupta last Friday informing clinical coordinators, finance managers and revenue clerks to charge K15,000 for snakebite anti-venoms. The fees are to be effective from Monday.
Kase said hospitals could only recommend any increase in fees to the health minister who would submit it to the National Executive Council for approval.
He said only the NEC had the power to set fees for hospitals.
“If the proposed fees by hospital are approved by the NEC, then hospitals must implement the approved scheduled fees,” he said.
Kase said the anti-venoms for snakebites were free for patients.
“The anti-venoms are expensive and are paid for by the State and provided free of charge to patients,” Kase said. He said a new stock of snakebite anti-venom arrived last month and another is expected this month.
“The current stock on hand includes 10 anti-venom for sea snake, 30 vials for Taipan and Polyvalent each.” he said.

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