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Health News of Friday, 7 February 2014

Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com

HISPA threatens court action against NHIA

The Health Insurance Service Providers Association (HISPA) has threatened to sue the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for the accumulated arrears owed health service providers in the country.

This threat followed recent complaints by managers of both public and private health facilities that the NHIA owed them huge sums of monies for services rendered to National Health Insurance Service card holders.

Director of operations and communication of HISPA, Mr. Anthony Ameka, issued the threat at a public forum in Tamale.

He disclosed, “The current situation as we speak now; NHIA is indebted to National Health Insurance Service Providers for five (5) solid months; the situation is worse for private facilities that have to bear all the cost ranging from salaries to medical consumables.”

He emphasized, “Persistent delay in payment of claims to the providers is having serious adverse effect on the finances of the providers, capacity to procure essential drugs, non-drug consumables and provision of investment.”

Mr. Ameka warned the NHIA against further delays in defraying the accumulated debt owed service providers.

“HISPAG will henceforth institute a legal action to demand interest on any amount delayed beyond the stipulated period; the reason being that whenever providers delay payment to the SSNIT and GRA they are taken to Court to compel them to pay the principal amount with penalty depending on the number of days of payment delays.”

He therefore called on government to immediately establish an independent body similar to the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) to be responsible for reviewing charges by NHIS service providers.

This in his estimation will result to the automatic adjustment of prices and tariffs in line with the current unpredicted economic circumstances that have hit the country.

He implied that the prevailing situation in the country with respect to the NHIA delays in payment of claims to service providers could be a set back to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.

“NHIA has a pivotal role to play if Ghana is to achieve the MDG 4 and 5; however the current situation prevailing in the country with respect to the NHIA payment of claims may be a set back to the attainment of this goal.”

The Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPA) is an association of health institutions providing health care services to the public nationwide.

One of HISPA’s core objectives is to offer support and advisory services to all members on matters such as tax and legal protection against professional practice which are likely to have negative effects on the operations of the providers.

The association also intends to protect its members against unfair treatment by both private and national health insurance schemes operating in the country.

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