The deputy director of Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), Paul Katto Tumuhimbise, has directed regional CID commanders to arrest private health service care providers who over charge or detain bodies of clients due to failure to clear medical bills.
In a memo seen by The Nile Post titled, “Overcharging patients and other forms of misconduct by private health care providers”, Katto explained that there has been a lot of concern and public outcry regarding private health care providers overcharging Covid-19 patients and detaining those that have recovered or dead bodies for failure to settle their medical bills.
“You are therefore directed to take interest in investigating and apprehending private healthcare providers who continue to break the law by committing offences like wrongful confinement and hindering burial of the dead that are closely stipulated in the penal code,” part of the memo read.
Whereas private health providers are crucial in supporting and supplementing the government hospitals in offering medical services, Tumuhimbise said they are mandated under the law to demand reasonable charges for the services they offer.
“They are further entitled to sue for and recover their costs in full in any court of competent jurisdiction. Therefore the practice of overcharging patients and detaining them plus dead bodies is not only illegal but inhuman and this should be stopped,” he said.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been growing reports of patients or dead bodies being held by private hospitals as security for payment of outstanding medical bills.
Matters have been made worse by further reports that some patients have been denied emergency medical treatment which includes oxygen therapy or support because they cannot make an advance payment.