National Health Insurance subscribers seeking healthcare at the Suhum Government Hospital in the Eastern Region are being made to pay a mandatory three-cedi levy to save the facility from collapsing due to financial strangulation.
All NHIS card bearing patients who showed up at the Hospital for medical care on Monday, May 20 were made to pay three cedis at the Out Patient Department before they were attended to by health practitioners.
The National Health Insurance Authority has in the past 12 months failed to reimburse 3 million cedis owed the hospital for drugs and medical services offered to NHIS subscribers, the hospital authorities said.
Medical Superintendent of the facility, Dr Emmanuel Tetteh Ashong, said the Hospital is currently broke.
“We are so broke and we also felt if they are not paying us, by the contract that they (NHIA) signed with us if after four months they haven’t paid us, we have the right to also do what we want to do,” he said.
He explained the situation at the facility informed their decision to charge NHIS subscribers three cedis each to cater for essential consumables needed to run the Hospital.
According to him, suppliers in the past two days have stopped giving the Hospital essential medical supplies.
“Imagine the activities going on; you see the patients, you buy logistics to do surgery, you pay for it…and we haven’t been paid (back by the NHIA). We’ve made representation to the NHIA… up till now we haven’t been paid; for one year we haven’t been paid anything and nobody is telling us anything,” Dr Tetteh Ashong said.
On Monday when 3news visited the hospital, NHIS subscribers were seen paying the three cedis without questioning the decision of the hospital authorities.
Dr. Ashong noted that apart from internal generated funds from the mortuary and non-insurance clients, the hospital has no source of income.
“We now depend on the mortuary. The issue is, if we don’t do anything, the hospital will collapse,” he indicated.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Regional National Health Insurance office has expressed optimism that payment would be made by next week.
Author: Yvonne Neequaye