Three private health facilities in the Ashanti Region have folded up due to the over 14-month indebtedness of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to health facilities across the country.
The NHIA owes the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) hospitals alone over 200 million cedis due to years of accumulated arrears the government has failed to settle service providers under the scheme.
The Ashanti Regional Secretary of the Society of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners (SPMDP), Dr. Kwame Antwi, who disclosed the closure of the three hospitals to 3news.com, failed to name the affected facilities.
He, however, said the effects of the non-payment of claims on health delivery have soared, with patients being at the receiving end as some health facilities also withdraw services to national health insurance subscribers.
He added some hospitals that cannot bear the sinking debt have resorted to the “cash and carry” system, where patients make payments before accessing health services.
The government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHISS) as a social intervention for individuals to pay a premium for health services spanning a year.
When patients cannot meet their health bills, they often resort to self medication and seek other alternatives which can complicate their situation.
But the challenge of late payment of claims to health service providers by the NHIA has been a major bane to the sustainability of the scheme.
In dire situations, some health facilities suspend service to NHIS cardholders and restore the “cash and carry” system, whilst the tendency to administer substandard drugs to desperate patients arises.
Currently, some health facilities in the country are reeling over the unpaid claims of service provided.
Dr. Antwi described the situation as unbearable.
“We the private health providers pay everything on our own. For instance, payment of staffs, electricity, buying of drugs and the taxes; everything we have to finance it from our resources,” he stated. “After working for 15 months on, one month payment has been made and even that not all of our members were paid”.
According to him, creditors have been on them since news broke the government has paid one month claims.
“They come to us for their monies because they think every facility has been paid,” he said. “It is serious because some of the facilities have folded up because of this non-payment; some have also withdrawn NHIS services”.
By William Evans-Nkum|3news.com|Ghana