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Health News of Thursday, 28 March 2019


NHIS debts: Cape Coast Teaching Hospital situation not dire – NHIA CEO

The acting CEO of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Lydia Dsane-Selby, has downplayed the GHc 6.175 million debt owed the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH).

“I think it’s not as dire as it is being made out to be,” Dr. Dsane-Selby said on the Citi Breakfast Show.

The GHc 6.175 million represents costs for six months, she also noted.
“We must remember that their monthly bill is close to a million cedis so that that GHc 6 million is around six months so it is not as if we owe years and years.”

Dr. Dsane-Selby assured that the authority was actively settling debts but focusing on more pressing health facilities in the short term.

“The last batch of money, we prioritized CHPS [Community-Based Health Planning and Services] health centres and maternity homes because they tend to be in the deprived and underserved areas.”

According to a Daily Graphic, the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital has threatened to deny patients on NHIS service.

But Dr. Dsane-Selby said she had been in touch with the hospital on the matter.

“I have spoken to [Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Dr Eric Kofi Ngyedu] since then. I think it was more a ploy to put pressure on us rather than that they are going to turn away cardholders.”

NHIS’s financial troubles have been well documented with the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu admitting that the scheme was cash-strapped.

The NHIA has long held that the scheme had run out of funds to operate and even proposed a plan to increase the National Health Insurance Levy from 2.5% to 3.5% of VAT.

The government subsequently separated the Health Insurance Fund Levy from the VAT giving it a straight levy of 2.5%.

The allocation formula for the NHIS funds was only approved on Wednesday in Parliament and the authority is waiting for the written approval for disbursement.

It takes about three months for the NHIS to settle claims, according to Dr. Dsane-Selby.

“Those who were seen in December, the claims are coming in now in March. We try to process within 60 days.”

Though there are suggestions that some health facilities have claims dating back to 2016, the acting CEO said these may be attributed to other problems.

“That would surprise me. Anybody who is still owed claims that far back has some other problem and not because we haven’t paid.”

She explained that said there were some health centres without credentials making claims. Also, there were health facilities making claims on deductions after audits.