Bulawayo’ s largest referral hospital, Mpilo Hospital is seeking the services of debt collectors to recover over $8million owed in unpaid medical fees claiming service provision has been crippled by the financial gap
Mpilo Chief Executive Officer Dr Lawrence Mantiziba today told Radio Dialogue that the hospital will soon be engaging the services of debt collectors to recover the $8million debt that has accrued over a period of between three to four years.
“We hope that if we engage debt collectors we will be able to collect money from the people enabling us to revive and resuscitate service delivery at the hospital,” Mantiziba said.
“When we get these debt collectors, the clientele will then be forced to come up with payment plans, before this we had people who would come up and agree on a payment plan but the majority would simply ignore our reminders, which is the reason why we decided to engage debt collectors.”
Mantiziba said of the $8million, over $700 000 is owed by maternity patients. He said failure by patients to settle their debts has further financially burdened the hospital crippling operations.
“Financial resources are a major challenge, in 2012 our PSIP financial allocations were cut from $3.1 million to $1.1million thus causing a budget deficit of $2million,” said Mantiziba.
However, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) organising secretary Ambrose Sibindi says engaging debt collectors will further financially burden residents. Sibindi says most residents seek medical assistance at Mpilo Hospital because they cannot afford doctors in private practice.
Meanwhile Mpilo Hospital is expected to scale down on some of its operations following failure by government to pay creditors who are holding on to some medical equipment and drugs. Health and child-welfare Deputy minister Douglas Mombeshora was recently quoted saying Mpilo Hospital among other government hospitals will be forced to withdraw services. Mpilo Hospital, CEO Dr Mantiziba however says the hospital will soon embark on resource mobilisation to compliment government efforts.
“Despite the financial challenges being faced by the hospital there are no services we are going to scale down on,we have embarked on resource mobilization to compliment government efforts and through such efforts we intend to open up sections that were closed such as theatres and furthermore we are in a drive to recruit more specialists to make the hospital fully functional,” he said.
Mantiziba said funds collected from the resource mobilisation exercise are also expected to address issues related to staff shortages after treasury froze filling of vacant posts.
“The newly opened paediatric hospital has no establishment of its own and we had to deploy staff from the main hospital thus depriving it of staff as well. Other parts of the hospital are equally affected.”