Private health facilities withdraw threats of returning to ‘cash and carry’ system
The Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana has rescinded its decision to reintroduce the co-payment system.
Last week, private health institutions on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) threatened to revert to the ‘cash and carry’ system of healthcare if the government did not address their reimbursement concerns.
They gave the government up to December 16, ultimatum in demand for outstanding payments dating as far back as 2018.
But a few days after the threats, the group has backed down on their intended action following a meeting with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
“Following the fruitful bilateral discussions between the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana(PHFAoG) on one hand and the National Health Insurance Authority(NHIA) on the other, we have resolved to suspend our intended action of initiating Co-payment by 16th of December, 2019.”
“The decision is hinged on a renewed commitment and firm assurance given by the government to offset outstanding debts as a measure of relief to private health service providers and to revive the quality of services rendered”, a statement from the Association noted.
Low medicine tariff
The facilities, however, reiterated the looming threat of low medicine tariffs and its intended effect on their operations.
While promising to continue providing excellent service to Ghanaians, it urged the government to take a “keen look at a possible tariff review in the shortest time possible to avert further agitation.”
The Association had earlier lamented that facility contracts with the government state that: “the NHIA will make payments within ninety (90) days of receipt of a claim unless written notice of a dispute or discrepancy is furnished the provider within thirty (30) days of the claim.”
According to the Association, the most recent reimbursement covered the month of February 2019 and only 30 per cent of the facilities have received payment “leaving a huge unsettled gap of nine (9) to ten (10) months which is a flagrant contravention of the National Health Insurance Act 852 and the L.I 1809 sections 37 and 38 respectively.”
“Private facilities are overburdened with debt from suppliers, banks (loans and overdrafts), inability to settle mandatory payments to GRA and SSNIT. Prosecutions and constant harassment have become a disincentive to operate.”
The Association also called for an upward review of medicine tariffs, which they say they have not benefited from since 2015.
The group also complained that the removal of the 17.5% VAT on imported medicines led to a 30% price cut on medicine tariffs sanctioned by the NHIA and consequently occasioned “heavy losses”.
“With these revelations in sight, we are initiating a full scale “CASH AND CARRY” on the 16th of December, 2019 if payments outstanding from 2018 to some of our members and that of 2019 is not cleared to alleviate the intensity of our woes and distress. We know this action will most likely spark an unnecessary uproar and erode confidence in policy execution by the government but we have no option.”
This is not the first time the private health facilities have made such a threat.