Health News of 2014-02-01

Service providers call for early payment of claims

The Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) has appealed to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to ensure that claims are paid within four weeks according to the regulations and the Legislative Instrument 1809.

According to the Association, the persistent delay in payment of claims was having adverse effects on the providers, particularly the private health facilities that have to bear all cost of operation, ranging from medical consumables to payment of salaries.

The Director of Operations and Communications of HISPAG, Mr. Anthony Ameka, who spoke at the maiden meeting of the Eastern Regional Branch of the Association, said the issue of delay in paying claims undermined delivery of quality service and the government must be interested.

He cited instances in the Upper East and Western regions where staff members of some big private facilities nearly went on strike and demonstrated against unpaid salaries for months due to the delay in payment of claims.

Mr. Ameka said NHIA owes health facilities in the Eastern Region six months claims whiles other regions were owed ranging from five to eight months. He, therefore, threatened that if the issue of delays were not tackled, HISPAG would be forced to demand interest on any amount delayed beyond four weeks.

He said due to delays in the payment of claims, some of the service providers were forced to take loans from banks with huge interest, putting further stress on the institutions.

Mr. Ameka said HISPAG was established with the objective of ensuring that service providers were treated fairly and they in turn also provided quality and acceptable services to the clients, and expressed the hope that their pleas would be heard to ensure smooth operations.

He said the Association had also recognized the need for retraining in the areas of claims processing, budgeting and financial management, and improving quality healthcare among others, and had planned training programmes across the country for members.

Members at the meeting elected some members to lead the Association in the Region. They are Mr. Silas Kwabena Agyekum, Chairman, Mr. Edwin Opare, Secretary and Mr. Samuel Amakye, Media and Public Relations Officer.