The Ganta United Methodist Hospital (GUMH) administration has disclosed that the institution is currently facing a financial crisis. This situation has arisen due to the failure of several patients to meet their medical bill obligations.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer on October 31, Mr. Allen Zomoway, the hospital administrator, stated that the management has been unable to pay the salaries for September 2023 because the monthly collection of required medical fees has been insufficient.
“Our medical bills are relatively lower compared to those in hospitals in Monrovia, but many patients are not fully committed to making their payments and sometimes even flee without settling their obligations,” he said.
Zomoway further lamented the significant cost of running a hospital, especially a private facility where the administration shoulders the burden alone.
Ganta United Methodist Hospital, a faith-based institution operated by the Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, serves as a referral hospital in Nimba. It also receives subsidies from the Government of Liberia. However, Zomoway explained that the institution has only received half of the anticipated US$50,000 allotted by the government.
Former Chief Justice Francis Korkor used to contribute over 100 gallons of fuel monthly to the hospital as a personal subsidy. However, since his retirement, it is uncertain whether this quantity of fuel is still being provided.
Earlier this year, citizens voiced their concerns about the sudden increase in bed fees from L$500 to L$900 per night, as well as other charges at the hospital. In a July interview, the administrator clarified that these increases were necessary to cover present-day expenses and maintain the quality of services. He assured the public that the hospital remains committed to serving those in need.
“We are a faith-based institution whose primary focus is healing and helping. If someone comes to us and we are aware of their financial struggles, we sometimes assist,” he said.
While the eye clinic, dentistry services, and diabetes programs at the hospital continue to operate effectively, the financial crisis has taken a toll. However, Mr. Zomoway attributed this to patients who are unable to afford the medical expenses and are unable to contribute to the hospital’s revenue.
He also cited the rising prices of goods in general, which have affected the cost of medical drugs and equipment necessary for providing quality care. He emphasized that necessary adjustments have been made to meet the challenges faced in providing services.
“We have dedicated compartments to isolate patients with contagious diseases such as Lassa fever, Ebola, COVID-19, or any other rapidly spreading disease,” Zomoway added.
With over 200 employees, the hospital incurs a monthly cost of around L$5.9 million to operate effectively. The commitment to maintaining a high standard of care and ensuring the safety and well-being of patients remains a priority despite the ongoing financial crisis.