According to the American newspaper Kuwait will have to pay 677 million dollars to about 45 American hospitals in total bills owed for overseas treatment of Kuwaitis. The Boston Globe said these are bills accumulated since 2018 for Kuwaitis sent overseas for medical treatment.

The newspaper pointed out that the hospitals have sought the help of Congress and the US State Department to get their dues and succeeded in its endeavors in late 2020 when Kuwait took the initiative to pay its bills, which was kept secret until last month when Dana Farber Cancer Hospital announced its financial statements and added the Kuwaiti government has put in place guarantees to prevent any future delays in the payment of US hospitals bills, reports a local Arabic daily.

According to the Boston Globe estimates Kuwait spends between $200 million and $300 million annually on treating Kuwaitis in American hospitals. The newspaper quoting the ‘International Medical Travel’ magazine said the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health sent 7,800 patients for treatment abroad in 2018, at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion, and 24 percent of those patients went to the United States.

The newspaper added, citing a report by the American Cooperative for International Patient Programs in 2020 that Kuwait ranks fourth in the world, after Canada, China and Mexico, in terms of the number of adult patients who are sent to the United States for hospitalization in outpatient clinics and first in the number of ‘interior’ patients.

The newspaper stated that Kuwait’s problems with paying foreign bills, according to the International Medical Travel magazine, dates back to 2017, when the Kuwaiti National Assembly began investigating allegations that Kuwaiti officials used treatment as a pretext to obtain funds to travel abroad, which prompted the then Kuwaiti Minister of Health to announce measures to reduce the cost of sending Kuwaitis for treatment abroad.

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