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CID to probe, apprehend healthcare providers who retain dead bodies over uncleared bills


CID to probe, apprehend healthcare providers who retain dead bodies over uncleared bills

All private health service care providers overcharging, retaining patients and bodies of their clients for failure to clear medical bills are to be probed and culprits apprehended.

This follows an order from Deputy Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID Paul Katto Tumuhimbise to commanders of regional/district investigations departments.

Tumuhimbise wrote in his internal Memo titled ‘Overcharging patients and other forms of misconduct by private health care providers, that the practice of overcharging patients and holding them plus dead bodies is not only illegal but inhuman and should be stopped.

“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,” Katto’s directive reads in part.     

The development comes two months after Centre for Health Rights and Development –CEHURD won a case against Attorney General, The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council and the Minister of Health for failure to stop what it termed as exorbitant, unjustified, and extortionate bills private hospitals were subjecting patients to.

During the second wave of COVID-19 between April and June this year, there was a public outcry when some private hospitals ordered families to first deposit as much as Shillings 5 million before their critically ill patients were admitted in ICU or put on oxygen.  

According to some patients and caretakers, hospitals also allegedly demanded more than Shillings 50 million in order to release recovered patients or bodies for burial.  

High Court subsequently ordered the government, minister of health and medical and dental practitioners council to make regulations on fees chargeable by hospitals. 

However, Grace Ssali Kiwanuka the Executive Director Uganda Healthcare Federation has reminded CID that as private healthcare providers they are regulated by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioner Council, Ministry of Health or the parliamentary committee on health.

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