The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) owes 78 health institutions across the country to the tune of GH₵51.4million as at December 31, 2021, the Auditor-General’s report has revealed.
This is in contravention of Regulation 38 of the National Health Insurance Regulations, 2004 (L.I.1809), which requires that a claim or payment of health service submitted to the scheme shall be paid within four weeks after receipt of the claim from the health care facility unless there is legal impediment.
However, the Auditor-General’s report on the Public Accounts of Ghana – Ministries, Departments and other Agencies (MDAs) – for the year ended 31 December 2021 indicates the timeline has been missed by more than twice the required months within which payment must be made.
Apart from health institutions in the Volta, Ashanti, North East, Central and Bono East Regions, the NHIA owes outstanding claims to some health institutions in the remaining 9 regions.
The number of facilities in the regions include nine in Upper East, three in Savannah, another nine in the Northern Region; nine also in Western North, 15 in Eastern, 18 in Upper West, One in Bono, two in Oti, and 12 health institutions in Greater Accra.
The report further recommended that heads of the institutions should engage the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NHIA for reimbursement of the outstanding amounts.
Indebtedness to suppliers
Another major issue the report brought to light is the indebtedness of health institutions to medical suppliers.
In all, about 57 health institutions owe Regional Medical Stores to the tune of GH₵14million for drugs and non-drugs supplied to the various facilities during the year under audit.
“Contrary to Regulation 78 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378), an examination of the Accounts Payable records showed that 57 institutions were indebted to suppliers who supplied drugs and non-drug items amounting to GH¢14,033,745,” the report said.
In an effort to avoid any legal tussles, the report recommended that heads of the institutions should make good the outstanding payables and ensure creditors are paid promptly.
Outstanding utility bill
The report further revealed that as at 31 December 2020, three health institutions in two regions owed the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) a total amount of GH¢2.4million for accumulated electricity bills.
The institutions include: Upper West Regional Health Directorate in Wa, which owes GH₵400,779.61 and GH¢10,892.08 as accumulated electricity and water bills respectively. The Regional Medical Stores, Wa, also owes GH₵914,058.95; and the Nurses and Midwifery Training College, Tamale, owes GH₵1.1million as electricity bill.
The audit report recommended management of the institutions to prioritise payment of utility bills to avert future disconnections.