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Health News of Thursday, 15 October 2015

Source: Daily Guide

NHIS collapsing hospitals

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The Bishop responsible for health in the Catholic Church in Ho, Most Rev Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum, has indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is collapsing health institutions in the country.

According to him, the negative effects of the NHIS in health institutions are no secret, adding that “we have said time and again that the scheme has the potential to collapse our institutions.”

He added that although the church was finding an appropriate and long-lasting solution to the issue of non-payment to providers, “the situation has worsened.”

To this end, Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum promised that “we will not stop agitating for our institutions to be paid for services rendered to patients who have paid their premiums and taxes expected to fund their care.”

He made the statement when he addressed the opening ceremony of the 13th Annual Conference of the National Catholic Health Service in Ho themed: ‘Patients’ Safety and Modern Health Technologies’.

The conference which brought together stakeholders in the Catholic health set-up also marked the first official event of the newly-installed bishop of the Ho Diocese, Most Rev Emmanuel Fianu.

On behalf of the Catholic health institutions and other health institutions, Bishop Afrifah-Agyekum called on government and the NHIA to honour their part of the deal with the institutions since it “is a matter of right.”

He stressed that “fair play and respect for each other in such a venture is all that is needed to succeed and we call on all concerned to act as expected.”

About five months ago, government directed the release of GHC180 million for the payment of arrears owed health insurance providers. The money cleared part of the more than GHC460 million owed National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) service providers across the country. At the time, NHIS owed service providers over eight months arrears.

Since last year, NHIS service providers made several threats to return to the ‘cash-and-carry’ system due to huge sums of arrears owed them since delay in claim payment was compromising provision of quality healthcare and collapsing some institutions.

The Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) which has 183 mission hospitals in the country also a year ago threatened to revert to cash- and-carry system or actually withdraw its services to subscribers of the NHIS due to arrears.

The Ghana Chamber of Pharmacies also nearly stopped the supply of medicines to health facilities that depended on the NHIS to pay for their medicines. Ghana Health Service also threatened to suspend the issuance of medicines to NHIS subscribers while NHIS hospitals offered essential drugs on ‘cash-and-carry’ basis due to the debt margins.

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