Association threatens to return to “cash and carry system”

The Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG), has threatened to return to the cash and carry system if the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims of members were not paid to them in the next two months.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the group in Bolgatanga, the President of the Association, Dr Francis Asaana, said the ritual delay in payment of the claims by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was seriously undermining quality healthcare service delivery.

According to the group, members had this year received payment for only February, and that continued to compromise quality healthcare delivery, since they owed a lot of pharmaceutical companies who were no longer willing to supply drugs on credit.

“We in the region have given them additional two months period after their mandatory three (3) months, after which if claims are not paid, we shall inform them and stop accepting NHIS cards in our facilities,” the President warned.

Dr Asaana who indicated that the delay of payment sometimes lasted between six to nine months, proposed that instead of depositing levied funds of the NHIS into the Consolidated Fund, it should be deposited in the National Health Insurance Fund as per the Act, to make it easier for payment.

The Association also demanded a review of the drug tariffs as over 50 per cent of the prices of drugs on the scheme list was below the lowest market prices.

He said: “This is ridiculous in business terms, but it is the sad reality with NHIA who controls all in its bosom. This affects service providers negatively and if not addressed immediately, we risk bringing in cheaper but fake drugs into the system to jeopardize the health of our people.

We have given the scheme up to September 30 to come out with a realistic drug tariff, else we will be compelled to do co-payment of the drugs by October 1, 2015.”

Dr Asaana said despite several appeals at meetings, the drug tariffs had not been reviewed upwards since July 2014.

The group also expressed worry about the low service tariffs and further called on actors to put a hold on the implementation of the capitation grant in health facilities in the region, stressing that the concept collapsed about 40 per cent of private health facilities in the Ashanti Region, where it was piloted. GNA

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