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Minister Bashes KHMH and Loma Luz over Dialysis Charges

Minister Bashes KHMH and Loma Luz over Dialysis Charges
July 13
11:18 2018

On Monday, July 9 in Belmopan, Minister of Health, Pablo Marin expressed his outrage at the nation’s largest referral hospital, the KHMH and Loma Luz, considered the best health facility in the West of the country, over charges for dialysis. In his response to a query on dialysis treatment currently available to Belizeans, Marin lamented the lack of access to the treatment, a concern mirrored by many suffering from renal failure who have been unable to access the service. 

“We have a lot of patients out there that are in need of dialysis. They can’t afford the dialysis. They are only taking one dialysis for week and they need three and it is very critical for them and what we have, we have about 30 patients right now in our Ministry working with Loma Luz and KHMH and we pay everything.”

Marin continued, stating that “At the moment KHMH is charging me $600 for dialysis, Loma Luz is charging me about $300 per dialysis. I think that definitely that is an outrage for me.”

But there are more questions than answers, and certainly raised eyebrows, following Marin’s spirited proclamation. The Reporter contacted the KHMH officially, to be told that they were not able to quantify the charges for dialysis at this time, pending meetings with the Ministry. A highly-placed source told us, unofficially, that the figures spouted by Marin are ‘rubbish.’ That source explained that both the KHMH and Loma Luz receive the same amount from the Ministry of Health for the dialysis program, a program they say has been under the control of the Ministry since it was implemented eight years ago. Our source ended by asserting that rather than the Minister throwing stones at the institutions, perhaps he should be looking at his own Ministry and expressing his ‘outrage’ there.

The Loma Luz hospital officially told us that they would prefer to wait until after meetings with the Ministry of Health to offer a comment on the dialysis program. Marin, in that interview Monday, confirmed that he is meeting with the KHMH and Loma Luz to renegotiate the cost of dialysis treatment, but is also in discussions with a third provider which would be able to treat 60 patients for the same $2 million at a patient cost of $220 per session. The Reporter has been reliably informed that the third provider is Dialisis de Honduras, which operates the Dialisis de Belice facility in Orange Walk, and the Dialysis del Caribe Facility in Belize City.

The Kidney Association of Belize, the major non-governmental group that lobbies for kidney patients in Belize has given its support to the Ministry’s stated push to increase accessibility to treatment for renal failure in Belize.

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