The troubled Bokamoso Hospital, which has been under provisional sequestration since January of this year, is in the final stages of declaring insolvency and selling off its assets to pay creditors. The trustees representing the Bokamoso Private Hospital trust will appear in court on the 30th of June where they are expected to enter into final sequestration, effectively dissolving the entity.
A memorandum was recently circulated to staff of the hospital, both employed and retrenched, regarding the benefits they can expect to receive once the sequestration issue has been resolved.
An interesting aspect of the document is the issue of pension benefits; while it acknowledges that a pension contribution of 5 percent was deducted from each employee’s salary from July, 2010 until December of that year, it maintains that the pension fund had not yet been established, thus the employees will not receive their pension benefits.
In a phone interview, Terry Brick, an assistant to the provisional trustees, revealed that the money which was collected was never transferred to a pension fund. He did, however, mention that the employees will have the right to claim against the insolvent estate and at the very least be compensated for their contributions.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the managing director of Associated Fund Administrators (AFA), Rose Tatedi, said that the hospital has been able to meet all its costs ÔÇô including paying employee salaries ÔÇô without seeking assistance from BPOMAS.
She went on to blame Bokamoso’s business model for its financial woes, explaining that the hospital became overwhelmed by costs that exceeded its income as a result of putting doctors and specialists on its payroll before the hospital had even begun generating money.
Tatedi said that Bokamoso should have just rented out space and equipment as most private hospitals do; this was compounded by the fact that management had overestimated the staff compliment it would need to satisfy projected patient volumes. Management had expected private practitioners to make referrals to the hospital but instead they kept referring their patients to institutions outside the country and thus Bokamoso was rendered overstaffed and was forced to make staff retrenchments within a year of opening.
More than 200 employees from departments across the hospital have been retrenched in the past six months in an apparent attempt to keep Bokamoso from collapsing but, curiously enough, a vacancy for a pharmacist’s position at Bokamoso has recently been circulating.
When questioned about the vacancy, Brick pointed out that in this particular case, the vacancy arose because the pharmacist who was in place is away on maternity leave but he did concede that quite a few people are resigning, so gaps need to be filled.
The operational management of the hospital has been on sale since the beginning of the sequestration period and Life Healthcare group, the company that owns Gaborone Private Hospital is understood to be amongst the shortlisted businesses. “We are actively looking for a technical partner,” says Brick, “While the entity that is Botswana Private Hospital trust will be dissolved, the hospital will still continue to operate; this process is just to ensure that the health service can once again become a profitable enterprise.”