Cash-and-carry imminent as gov’t hospitals dry out of cash

Some District government hospitals across the country have run out of cash and patience and have vowed to stop attending to patients carrying the NHIS card.

The hospitals are turning away patients holding the National Health Insurance cards because they do not have the funds to run the hospitals.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has for several months failed to reimburse the hospitals for cost they incurred providing services to NHIS subscribers.

And with the current load management regime across the country, the burden on these hospitals has become even more unbearable.

The Association of Private Health Care Providers in March this year threatened to suspend services to the NHIS and implement a full cash-and-carry policy if they were not reimbursed.

The Health Ministry, however, intervened with an appeal for the hospitals to hold on as the NHIA prepares to pay them their monies.

The NHIA appears not to have made any payment, a situation which has left the hospitals in a rather dire situation.

The Medical Superintendent of the Prestea Government Hospital in the Western Region, Dr. Lesley Issah Adams Zakaria told Joy News the last time they received payment from the NHIA was in July last year.

“Even 2014 we have not been paid for March 2014,” he noted.

He said the hospital is owed in excess of 900,000 cedis and several efforts to get the NHIA to pay at least part of the monies have failed.

So dire is the situation that the hospital is now depending on mortuary fees to survive, he indicated.

“Management had a meeting and decided that if by close of the week we don’t receive any money from the NHIS by next week Monday we are going full cash and carry,” he threatened.

The situation at the Sogakope government hospital in the Volta Region is no different.

Some students with the Sogakope SHS who reported sick at the hospital with their NHIS cards were asked to bear the full cost of medical care or be turned away.

An official of the hospital Dr Ernest Abude who later spoke to Joy News’ Fred Smith said they cannot run the hospital without money.

The last time they received payments from the NHIA was eight months ago.

Dr Abude said they need to buy water, medication, fuel for their generator, disinfectants etc and all these require money to do so.

“They just brought a claim of 15,862 cedis for cost of fuel for generator. The hospital can’t run without light”, he indicated.

It is however not clear yet when the NHIA will make payments to these hospitals to bring the situation under control.

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