The attention of the Management of University of Benin Teaching Hospital has been drawn to some misinformed and misleading publications on the social media in recent times, bordering on the inability of some patients to pay their medical bills. It is against this background that we provide the following clarifications:
1. The challenge of access and equity in healthcare service delivery is national and not peculiar to UBTH. It is not within the powers of UBTH to grant free healthcare to clients, which obviously is not a sustainable model in the present economic climate.
2. In spite of the above, UBTH being sensitive to the present economic situation has been granting hospital bills waivers to several clients, adjudged to be so – deserving . In 2019, a total of 312 patients were granted waivers of their hospital bills to the tune of ₦89, 304, 959 (eighty nine million, three hundred and four thousand, nine hundred and fifty nine naira) and up till September 30, this year, the sum of ₦91, 634,131 (ninety one million, six hundred and thirty four thousand, one hundred and thirty one naira) has been waived by the Hospital Management.
3. The present UBTH Management in 2017, instituted an Indigent Patient Fund, to which staff of the hospital contribute and which is deployed to defray hospital bills of indigent patients.
4. It is pertinent to note that, the furore arising from the social media claims stems from the unquestioned commitment of UBTH to providing quality healthcare to all her clients at the point of entry, irrespective of inability or unwillingness to pay in emergency situations.
5. As expected of a prudent Management, there is a machinery in place to check the authenticity of claims of indigency as well as to check and prevent possible abuses. The hospital’s Medical Social Services (MSS) Department is mandated to verify claims of impecuniosity, with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Management on a case by case basis. Where there are delays in recommending waivers of patients’ bills by the MSS department, it may be due to doubts about the veracity of such patients’ claims to being indigent.
6. Management gratefully acknowledges the kindheartedness and support of some well-meaning individuals and organizations in the society who over the years have provided assistance to indigent patients in UBTH.
The Management of UBTH wishes to state that it remains committed to continuous learning and improvement , and is always willing to provide clarifications on its operations. We are also open to suggestions for further improvements.
Prof. Darlington E. Obaseki
Chief Medical Director