Medical Costs: Make sure they are in line with the actual treatment given
by JC IMPOUTOU - April 2005
We have recently had an unfortunate experience of a case of overcharging of medical costs. We left three injured stowaways in the care of one local clinic which dealt with sick/injured stowaways in Ivory Coast on a regular basis and for reasonable costs.

When we were processing the clinic's invoices in the usual manner to verify their accuracy, we consulted alternative medical sources and it came to light that there were serious anomalies in the clinic's invoice for the intervention on one stowaway. Some items in this invoice were questionable and the description of the medical acts carried out gave rise for doubt. We requested necessary explanation/clarification from the clinic concerned. We faced an unfavourable reaction to our queries on the above mentioned points. We suggested and obtained the principal's authority to take the matter before the medical review board. We wrote, with all necessary details concerning the matter and relevant invoices, to the medical review board to request their mediation. We stressed that certain items, particularly the alleged stay of one stowaway in an intensive care unit and the surgical equipment used to operate on the same stowaway's spinal column, had been overcharged.

Several confrontations took place between ourselves and the owner of the clinic in question before the medical review board.

Finally, the medical review board made a decision which followed our request. Costs charged by the clinic for the stowaway's stay in the intensive care unit and surgical equipment were cut by 50%. We were therefore able to save EUR 3,000 in favour of our principals.

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