Hospital bills, Imo Assembly Speaker

The Imo State House of Assembly has adopted a motion seeking to end the “illegal detention” of indigent patients, who could not afford their hospital bills after discharge.

The House’s resolution followed a motion sponsored by Kennedy Ibe (APC-Obowo) and presented during plenary on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Defending the motion, Ibe argued that aside the detention of the patients, corpses of some dead patients, whose relatives were unable to pay the hospital bills, were also detained in the morgues, while the bills continued to mount.

He described the situation as an anomaly requiring immediate redress.

According to him, it is illegal to incarcerate people without a legal mandate.

The lawmaker said there should be a balance to accommodate the dignity of people.

Ibe recommended the use of a promissory note which, he said, would outline when such bills could be paid.

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The lawmaker prayed the House to urge Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma to direct the state Ministry of Health to urgently develop a policy that would help to correct the practice by hospitals.

Supporting the motion, the lawmaker representing Ahiazu Mbaise Constituency, Samuel Otuibe, described the situation as a small part of the huge problem in the health sector.

Otuibe said some illegally detained patients in some cases were converted to unpaid workers by the hospitals as a way to recover their bills.

The lawmaker added that some hospitals charge exorbitant bills, thereby making it more difficult for patients to pay their bills.

The lawmaker, therefore, called for a public complaints committee to be set up by the ministry to handle all such complaints.

Contributing, Dominic Ezerioha (Oru West-APC) described the issue as illegal and called for immediate action to end it.

Ezerioha also urged the lawmakers to check the hospitals involved in such unwholesome practices in their constituencies in order to help people who found themselves in such helpless situations.

Deputy Speaker Amarachi Iwuanyanwu, who presided over the session, ruled in favour of the motion, following a unanimous vote supporting it.

Iwuanyanwu commended the sponsor for bringing up the illegality on the floor of the House for legislative action.

The Star



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