Jordan can benefit immensely from activating medical liability law — expert

1. Medical Law
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AMMAN — Jordan is among six countries in the West Asia region that have in place a medical liability law, out of 16, but the 2018 legislation is not implemented fully, a legal expert has said, urging the full activation of a liability code to tap a “huge” potential through encouraging patients from more countries to seek treatment in the Kingdom.اضافة اعلان

Lawyer and legal researcher Naser Abu Rumman, who holds a PhD in medical responsibility and is the founder and CEO of the Istanbul-based West Asia Consulting for Legal Research (WAC), told Jordan News that the US market in particular would be highly lucrative if the law were properly enforced.

“Regardless of my reservations regarding the law, due to its numerous loopholes, the enactment of such a code was a step in the right direction,” he said.

According to him, US insurance companies that follow medical treatment policies would be interested in sending patients to a country with the reputation of Jordan in the field of medicine, but such a move hinges on the availability of insurance services for practitioners covering medical malpractice, which is enshrined in the law, but not observed on the ground.

Abu Rumman added that the cost of medical treatment in the US is very high, which has prompted insurance companies to look for alternatives overseas as an economic necessity.

“If you look at the bigger picture, activating the law, namely, getting doctors and hospitals to buy policies covering medical liabilities, is a win-win for all. These very practitioners will be covered in case of any malpractice, the patients in Jordan, including foreigners, will feel more comfortable, and the country will be gaining much from patients sent for treatment from abroad,” he said.

According to Abu Rumman, revenues from medical tourism, albeit remaining a key contributor to GDP, have declined since a peak of JD2 billion in 2011.

According to the Medical Tourism Magazine, Jordan has 63 private hospitals and two university centers that specialize in research and training. Support staff includes 32 nurses per 10,000 Jordanians, a figure on par with Thailand’s, considered an international leader. The number of pharmacists in the Kingdom — 14 per 10,000 Jordanians — is comparable to that of Japan.

As WAC, a non-profit organization, plans training for medical staff on medical liability, there is an added value, “because more awareness means fewer (cases of liability)”, he said.

“The opportunity is there, we need to seize it. It is as simple as that,” he said.

WAC was co-founded by jurists, mostly law professors, from 10 West Asian countries, to “educate, raise awareness and conduct research”, Abu Rumman said.

He pointed out that “the advocacy group is working toward encouraging medical responsibility legislation in the remaining West Asian counties and an adequate infrastructure supporting the system, to render these countries attractive to patients and insurance companies in Western countries”.

“We cannot also ignore the possibility that insurance companies covering medical liability might find an opportunity in the region to expand their operation and open branches,” he added.

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