Health News of Thursday, 3 July 2014
The decision by the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) to reject National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) subscribers at its facilities with effect from Wednesday is yet to be carried through by its members across the country.
While some members of CHAG have started the implementation of the cash-and-carry system for NHIS card holders, others are yet to do so.
Those facilities which could not start the implementation on Wednesday July 2, 2014 also indicated that they would do so from Thursday because they did not get the circular in time.
The Board of Trustees of CHAG, in a public notice published in Wednesday in the Daily Graphic, explained that they had been forced to take that decision due to the inability of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to pay CHAG health facilities outstanding bills and economic tariffs for services rendered.
It said the decision was to avoid further deterioration in the quality of the services provided and the imminent collapse of CHAG health facilities.
But just when CHAG had issued its directives, members of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) also announced a resort to the cash-and- carry system for all NHIS card-bearing patients.
The decision was contained in a statement signed jointly by the HISPAG National Executive Committee Chairman, Dr Edward Tagoe, and its Executive Director, Mr Frank Richard Torblu, and issued after a HISPAG stakeholder meeting.
“This notwithstanding, all clients who deserve emergency services from service providers across the country will be attended to and given the right care,” it added.
In Accra, the Daily Graphic observed during a visit to some private and mission health centres that some health facilities did not accept NHIS cards.
Those clinics, however, accepted the nationwide mutual health insurance cards.
Sources close to the Light House Mission Clinic and the Holy Trinity Hospital, both at North Kaneshie, indicated that the hospitals did not accept NHIS cards, even before CHAG’s directive.
However, the Daily Graphic observed that a private clinic, the Faith Community Clinic, accepted the NHIS cards.
Meanwhile, some NHIS card holders at the Faith Community Clinic who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity complained that they were not given prompt and desired attention as those patients using the cash-and-carry system.
A patient at the Holy Trinity Hospital told the Daily Graphic that even though the hospital did not accept NHIS cards, she would not have used it there if the hospital worked with NHIS cards because they were inefficient and not worthwhile.
She said she had witnessed how NHIS card holders went through a number of receptive challenges at some government hospitals where she had expected that they would be good promoters of the scheme.
At the Kwadaso SDA Hospital in Kumasi, the medical director said the facility had to resort to the difficult situation because it had run out of resources to purchase basic disposables.
St Michael’s Catholic Hospital at Pramso had started implementing the directive of CHAG to ensure that it would not increase the debt it owed many of its suppliers, some of whom had threatened to take court action against the hospital.