183 Hospitals, Clinics pull out of NHIS
 
Posted on: 2014-Jun-03        
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The Christian Health Association of Ghana (GHAG) has disclosed that effective July 2, 2014; all 183 member institutions shall cease to recognize the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card as a means of payment for service rendered to clients.

This means patients will have to resort to the old system of cash-and-carry to seek medical care at these health institutions.

According to the association, the decision has been taken due to the National Health Insurance Authority’s (NHIA) consistent delay in the payment of claims to service providers which has put member institutions into huge indebtedness of an average of five to six months claims.

This was made known at a press conference held in Koforidua on Thursday at the sidelines of the associations ongoing 46th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The press conference was addressed by Dr. Gilbert Buckle, Executive Director of CHAG Secretariat, backed by Dr. Kwabena Opoku Aduse, chairman of CHAG board of trustees.

The association explained that the delay in payment of NHIA claims and low tariffs of medicines and services are having negative impacts on member institutions in which Hospitals and Clinics are unable to pay salaries of non-mechanized staff.

He said they are unable to pay their creditors, hence, member facilities have been hit by shortage of essential drugs, medical and surgical supplies since they are unable to pay outstanding debts and as a result the hospitals are resorting to pay bank overdraft facilities for funding of essential medical supplies against unfavorable bank interest rates, leading to an increment of health services cost.

CHAG argues that many of its member institutions managers are being harassed and threatened with court actions by their creditors. These among other negative impacts created by delay in payment of NHIS claims informed their decision to withdraw from the NHIS.

Efforts To Seek Redress

According to the statement read by Dr. Buckle, executive secretary of CHAG, the association has applied all means to finding solutions to the challenges of the NHIA and the adverse effect it is having on the provision of quality health care by holding several meetings with officials of NHIA, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning with regard to delay in payment, capitation, low tariffs of drugs and lack of binding service-provider contract arrangement since 2012; however, no positive gains have been recorded.

Recommendation to government

CHAG has recommended that, the NHIS Found must be used solely for its mandatory purpose as specified in the NHIA act.

The association also suggests that government reviews the financial strategy of the NHIA to ensure that adequate financial resources are made available to the authority in a way that ensures timely payment of claims to service providers.

The 46th AGM of the CHAG was under the theme “Strengthening Health Systems to improve Patient safety.”

The AGM was attended by all 183 member institutions of CHAG made up of hospitals, clinics and health training institutions from all the regions of Ghana. In all, over 220 delegates were n attendance.