Friday, July 1, 2022

Cash-strapped Bokamoso Hospital faces liquidation

The cash strapped Bokamoso Private Hospital is facing liquidation and was this week put under judicial management.

Botswana Public Officers Medical Aid Scheme (BPOMAS), who are the owners of the world-class hospital, this week approached the High Court in Lobatse and obtained an order for the winding up of the hospital.

Hospital employees are uncertain of their future following the Sequestration or Liquidation order that was made by the High Court on Wednesday.

The Court has taken over the running of Bokamoso Hospital from the Board of Trustees and placed it under the custodianship of Massimo Marinell and Dr Edward Maganu for the next six months.

The High Court Order effectively means that all employment contracts have been suspended and employees will be paid for work that liquidators direct should be done. Employees may also have to wait for some time before they can get their money as the hospital has to first pay its creditors.

The provisional trustees have been empowered to carry on and/or discontinue and/or suspend any part of the business of the respondents (Bokamoso Private Hospital) as they consider fit and as far as may be possible for the beneficial winding up of the respondents’ estate,” reads part of the order signed by High Court judges Michael Mothobi and Leatile Dambe.

Last year, there reports that government was deliberately starving the Hospital business by referring patients to South Africa while same medical specialists and facilities are available at Bokamoso.

At one point, the Hospital was reported to be operating without a business plan until September last year.

High salaries for staff members have also been singled out as one of the factors that led to the hospital’s financial dire straits. Some staff members were getting a take home salary of close to P200 000 per month.

It is understood that the hospital needs around P15 million to operate successfully on a monthly basis, but is presently making only about P7 million.

It is also understood that the provisional liquidators want the whole of Bokamoso’ s management out and also intend to do a major restructuring, which might result in the shelving of a number of operations.

In an interview with this paper, Marinell confirmed that he and Dr Maganu had taken control for the winding up of the hospital.

“Our intention is not to close down the hospital but to try and find a solution,” he told the Sunday Standard.

He said that it was still too early to reveal whether or not they would shed jobs but hastened to point out that they were working around cutting costs.

“It’s critical that we look at cost cutting measures,” he stated.

In a statement released this week, BOPMAS says that it is hopeful that judicial management will help turnaround the hospital’s fortunes.

“The essence of this move, by BPOMAS, is to allow for implementation of appropriate and quick turnaround strategies that would result in improved financial performance and sustainability of the BPH. Thus the intended result is to see the BPH coming out of this process as a viable and self sustaining entity,” it states.

BPOMAS has, however, reassured its subscribers that it is still financially sound and in a position to honour their medical claims.

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