Service Providers, under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), say they are on the verge of returning to cash-and-carry to save their health facilities from shutting down due to huge indebtedness.
According to them, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is indebted to Service Providers across the country for a minimum of seven months.
GH₵80m average monthly claims
On the average, the NHIA pays monthly claims of about GH₵80 million and, therefore, the seven months indebtedness could in the region of GH₵400 million.
Few of the service providers have, indeed, received payments covering January and April 2016 while others are owed up to December 2015.
What is even disturbing is, in some of these cases, the NHIA sometimes jumped some of the months and pay the most recent months.
For Instance, in some of the regions, the Authority has not paid December 2015 but has paid January 2016.
When contacted, Mr Frank Richard Thorblu, Executive Secretary of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG), told The Finder that health facilities providing NHIS services, just like any other business, need money to function.
According to him, such health facilities, as part of their mandate, are required to always have in stock essential medicines to attend to emergencies.
However, this all important function is usually hampered by the indebtedness of NHIA to hospitals.
For him, the centralising of Claims Processing Centres in Kumasi, Tamale, Accra and Cape Coast, was contributing to the delay in processing their claims.
When contacted, the Communications Manager of NHIA, Mr Selorm Adornoo, told The Finder that centralising the processing centres has helped to improve efficiency.
According to him, the centralised centres have been well equipped and with the qualified personnel to handle the processing of the document.
He explained that NHIA, sometimes, jumps some of the months, which are still under audit, and pay the most recent months if the documents for those months are certified for payment.
For him, delay in submission of documents on the part of some service providers has resulted in delays in payment.
But HISPAG Secretary, Mr Thorblu, said in February this year, service providers and NHIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which NHIA pledged to make monthly payments to service providers to avoid accumulating debts.
He said NHIA failed to deliver on its pledge without any cogent explanation to service providers.
The scheme’s indebted, is largely, due to the failure of Ministry of Finance to release, on time, monies collected on behalf of the NHIA.
If the Ministry of Finance releases monies on monthly basis, the scheme could pay service providers on time to avoid the usual indebtedness