Venezuelan hospitals to temporarily freeze fees

AP News
Posted: Aug 16, 2011 4:42 PM
Venezuelan hospitals to temporarily freeze fees

Venezuela's health minister says private hospitals in the South American country have agreed to temporarily freeze their fees.

The measure is part of efforts by President Hugo Chavez's government to contain health care costs while also trying to curb inflation now running at an annual rate of 25 percent.

Health Minister Eugenia Sader says private hospitals have agreed not to raise their fees for at least three weeks.

She calls it a temporary measure while officials and hospital administrators discuss ways of lowering costs.

Chavez has long accused Venezuela's private hospitals of denying access to poor and middle-class people who lack health insurance and cannot afford treatment.