The National Catholic Health Service (NCHS) on Wednesday expressed concern about the continuous delay by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in paying its claims to ensure quality healthcare delivery in the country.
Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum, Episcopal chairman for the Catholic Health Service expressed the concern in Tamale when he opened the 12th annual conference of the Catholic Health Service.
The conference on the theme: “Eliminating harm and error in care giving-Keys to good stewardship” is aimed at deliberating on achievements and failures and to chart a path of progress.
He said due to the delay of payments of funds by NHIA to the service, it was not creating an effective room for dispensing quality healthcare to the people.
Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum said in view of the problems some, church leaders were compelled to direct health institutions under the Catholic Church to deny National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card holders their services, which had a huge negative impact on the lives of people and the country as a whole.
He said the NCHS was a network of 34 hospitals, 70 health centres, clinics and many others, which was currently responsible for over 27 per cent of OPD care in Ghana.
Rev. Afrifah-Agyekum who is also the Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese said the delay in paying claims would lead to a situation where patients would be compelled to purchase drugs anywhere saying, “If a patient takes a prescription from us and because we don’t have the drugs at our disposal, the patient might purchase counterfeit drug elsewhere, which pose a health risk”.
He said as a long term measure the church had seriously started looking for an alternative to the NHIS for its institutions due to the persistent nature of the issues, which seemed not to be receiving proper attention from those who matter.
Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, Deputy Northern Regional Minister said the challenges that were facing the NHIS would soon be over and advised health institutions not to turn away patients with NHIS ID cards since the country could not afford to lose lives.
He said when patients were always attended to, half of their problems were always solved saying, “Patients do not need only medicine to recover but also a psychologically sound mind”, and commended the NCHS for their contribution to quality healthcare delivery in the country. GNA