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NHIA promises March payment as hospitals adopt desperate measures to survive

National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is providing assurances that distressed hospitals nationwide owed a total of GH₵14.2m by the authority can expect to get some relief by March.

The promise comes on the heels of reports that some health facilities are cash strapped and are having to compel some patients to pay for electricity.

According to them this is to avert the imminent collapse of their facilities; due to the failure of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to pay claims.

The second largest hospital in Ashanti region, Kumasi South is in crisis. It owes Electricity Company of Ghana GH₵308,629 in bills. The hospital spends GH₵20,000 on electricity bills per month and an average of GH₵30,000 to fuel generators whenever power supply is cut.

Their largest source of revenue which is claim payments by the NHIA, is four months in arrears. NHIA owes the hospital GH₵1,125,414.

Management has decided to levy patients insured and uninsured. Patients are paying for photocopy, receipts and injections. A patient paid GH₵6 for an electricity fee.

“The kind of expenditures we are making if we don't something the alternative will be [that] we can't provide services”. A Finance officer Richard Appiah told Luv FM's Erastus Asare Donkor.

The hospital is part of several owed by the NHIA. The Ghana Health Service says the authority owes facilities more than GH₵14.2 million in unpaid claims.

This was disclosed at the regional annual performance review in Wa in the Upper West region by the Regional Medical Director Abdulai Adams.

Acknowledging the crisis, CEO of the NHIA promised to pay all 2014 arrears by the close of March.

“We are working seriously with the Ministry of Finance to get some funds and we are very hopeful”, he said on Joy News.

The NHIA is funded by a 2.5% NHIL levy. However, although the levy is collected, onward disbursement to pay for claims has become a bizarre problem.

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