Boston hospitals lead effort to recoup debt from Kuwaiti government

After banding together and seeking help from Congress and the State Department, 45 hospitals were able to collect the $677 million that Kuwait owed to them for medical care, The Boston Globe reported March 8.

The money was collected by the end of 2020 but was not publicly disclosed until February, when Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute posted its 2021 financial statements, according to the Globe

The hospitals have established relationships with Kuwait, which provides universal healthcare and pays for its citizens to receive care in other countries. But by 2020, Kuwait's debt to U.S. hospitals stacked up.

The hospitals banded together in June 2020, and Massachusetts hospitals led the repayment effort because they were owed about 25 percent of the debt. Dana-Farber was owed $20 million, and Mass General Brigham was owed $45 million, according to the Globe.

Kuwait Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah told the Globe safeguards have been added to prevent future payment issues.

"The State of Kuwait has had a temporary and unfortunate setback in 2018-2019 concerning the delayed transmittal of the owed payments," Mr. Sabah said. "That delay then was exclusively due to bureaucratic procedures internal to the Ministries of Health and Finance in the State of Kuwait. In 2020 this matter had been swiftly resolved and the Government of Kuwait paid all outstanding debts, notwithstanding extraordinary pressures imposed on the government by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Dana-Farber CFO Michael Reney told the Globe the hospital is now requiring Kuwait to repay its debts within six to eight months.

Read more here.

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