Private healthcare providers in the Upper East region have threatened to gradually withdraw their services from May if the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) does not pay them some of their claims.
At a press conference in Bolgatanga, the regional chairman of the Association of Private Healthcare Providers, Dr. Francis Asaanah said people in at least five districts in that region will suffer if their services are withdrawn.
“Binduri, Pusiga, Timpane and Garu do not have hospitals and it is private people who have put health facilities there to take care of their health needs,” he said.
According to him, the current NHIA claims indebtedness is close to a year now and providers have submitted claims up to between December 2018 and February 2019.
He disclosed that their situation is dire as some hospitals have not been able to pay salaries for the past four months.
“This is because they rely solely on reimbursement from the NHIA to pay salaries and purchase other logistics for their operations.
“We want Authority and government to consider making regular monthly payments to facilities as this will go a long way to ensure a smooth and constant provision of quality health care services,” he said.
He believes if this is adhered to, it will prevent the frequent labour agitations and strike threats faced by the managers of the health care providers.
Dr. Asaanah said due to lack of funds, members of the Association are unable to satisfy their statutory obligation like SSNIT payment for their staffs.
“SSNIT has sent almost all of us to court before and we needed to go and meet them to protect ourselves…Government needs to pay us on the back and see to it that these problems are solved so they will continue to serve the people,” he said.
On his part, a private healthcare provider, Thomas Moore, said most the pharmaceutical suppliers only agree to give supplies for up to three months if they are given post-dated cheques.
”Most of our facilities have gone to court because of that because they give the cheques hoping that the NHIA will pay them and by the time it expires, you would have defaulted.
”If the payments were monthly, no matter how small it is, you will be able to plan…no facility here can do an expansion, you can’t buy new instruments because you don’t know when they will pay,” he said.
The National Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, will soon pay debts they owe Cape Coast Hospital and other hospitals in the country.
According to the acting CEO of NHIA, Dr Lydia Dsane Selby the budget has been approved and they will begin discussions with the Finance Ministry to pay the Hospitals they owe.
“We owe some hospitals about 6 months’ worth of their NHIA services. Now that our budget has been approved, we can begin discussions with the finance ministry about releasing our funds”
“It takes about 3 months for NHIA claims to be filed. We are now seeing the claims of those who were treated in December If every facility brought their claims within two months and we cleared within 2 months, they would get it quickly,” she added.
The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) in the Central Region in a letter to NHIA said they are likely to suspend its services to National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cardholders following the non-payment of health insurance claims running into millions of Ghana cedis.