The statement came after incidents went viral on social networks regarding private clinics demanding guarantee cheques or cash from patients.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Health warned private clinics against requesting guarantee cheques from patients or their relatives.
Ait Taleb made the remarks at the House of Councilors on Tuesday in Rabat.
According to the official, Morocco legally prohibits private clinics from asking insured patients or their beneficiaries for a guarantee in cash, by cheque, or by any other means of payment. The only exception applies to any portion of the bill that remains the patient’s direct expense.
He said the action is in line with Article 75 of Law 131.13 relating to the practice of medicine.
In accordance with Article 316 of the Commercial Code, any person who agrees to receive or endorse a cheque as an advance guarantee, not to be cashed immediately, should receive a prison sentence ranging between one to five years in addition to a fine of MAD 2,000 to MAD 10,000 ($220 to $1,100).
The head of the Regional Council of Pharmacists of the South, Saadia Moutawakil, addressed a letter to the health minister earlier this month, accusing a clinic in Casablanca of refusing to release the body of a patient who spent seven days in a reanimation bed prior to his death until his relatives could pay $21,845.
Moutawakil also condemned the clinic for asking for a $4,369 cheque in advance before taking the COVID-19 patient into its charge.
Ait Taleb said private clinics’ request for guarantee cheques stems from the absence of an electronic system allowing access to insurance companies’ data to know whether or not the company insures a particular patient.
The official said that despite public controversy over practices at certain clinics, his ministry did not directly receive any complaints regarding private clinics’ demand for guarantee cheques.