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Hospital engages debt collectors

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GWERU Provincial Hospital has engaged the services of debt collectors in a bid to recover money owed by patients.

Stephen Chadenga
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The health institution, which is the biggest referral hospital in the Midlands province, is owed more than $500 000 by patients and has engaged the services of Well Cash debt collectors.

Yesterday, Well Cash debt collectors sent text messages to patients who have outstanding bills with the hospital to settle them or risk legal action being taken.

“You are being reminded of your balance that you owe Gweru Provincial Hospital that is long overdue, we also notify you that we have started legal process that will see you lose your valuable property,” part of a text message send to a patient reads.

“If you do not make efforts to settle this debt within 48 hours, you will be liable for costs incurred in our effort to recover this balance, be advised that court charges will be layed (sic) squarely on your shoulders.”

Medical superintendent Fabian Mashingaidze could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In 2013, Mashingaidze said it was not in the interest of the institution to engage debt collectors, but pointed out that patients were not forthcoming with payment plans when they were reminded to settle their bills.

The hospital, like many other government health institution, lacks adequate medical supplies with patients buying most of the drugs.
This means patients mostly pay for bedding.

Last week, Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo advertised for services of a debt collector, an indication that health institutions were suffering from the burden of debt.

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