NHIA pays GH¢686m to health service providers

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  • Urges providers to settle medicine suppliers promptly
  • But pharmaceutical importers remain sceptical, to go ahead with planned strike

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has so far paid a total of GH¢686 million to health service providers as claims under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) this year, the NHIA said in a statement.

The payments, according to the NHIA statement, were effected between January 1 and June 18, 2020 to both public and private service providers, as well as quasi-government service providers and mission health facilities. It also includes withholding taxes on behalf of the providers.

A breakdown of the figures show that public health facilities received GH¢361million representing 52.6 percent of the payments, while the private service providers have received GH¢199million pegged at 29.1 percent. Mission health facilities (CHAG) have also received GH¢112million representing 16.4 percent, while quasi-government service providers got GH¢13million representing 1.9 percent of total payments made to date.

Additionally, 46 percent of the sum paid is made up of payment for medicines prescribed by the service providers, and is estimated at approximately GH¢320million.

“The NHIA is committed to further reducing any outstanding claims to ensure the scheme’s members continue to receive quality healthcare. Service providers are critical partners in the NHIA’s drive to attain universal health coverage, and must guarantee quality of healthcare to NHIS members and their patients as a whole,” the Authority’s statement read.

It will be recalled that a recent statement jointly issued by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana and the Chamber of Pharmacy accused health care facilities funded by the NHIA of failing to pay for pharmaceutical products supplied to them for more than 12 months.

This development, according to NHIA, is not only worrying but of great concern – as it has the potential to adversely affect the medicine supply chain and negatively impact on the quality of care that the NHIA aspires to obtain for the Ghanaian public.

“Management strongly urges healthcare facilities funded by the NHIA to promptly settle their debts to the pharmaceutical companies, so as to avoid any disruptions in the medicine supply chain,” it admonished.

However, the Pharmaceutical Importers Association of Ghana remains sceptical about the announcement on payment of claims to service providers – saying until their arrears which date back to 2014 are paid, they will go ahead with their planned strike on July 1, 2020.

“We are talking about arrears that date back to 2014, so the figure is too huge; we are still collating them from our members,” Joseph Fiifi Yamoah, Executive Secretary of the Association told the B&FT, adding that “We don’t know who is telling the truth, so we will go ahead with the strike unless our monies are paid”.

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to curb spread of the coronavirus, the Authority is advising all NHIS members or users to renew their membership by dialling *929# from any mobile network with a mobile wallet to enjoy uninterrupted healthcare services.

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