Health News of 2014-02-02

Medical Centre closes down due to NHIS indebtedness

The King’s Medical Centre, a private-public health institution, providing quality healthcare to over 237 communities in the Kumbungu district and its adjoining areas, would be closing down on Monday, February 3, due to indebtedness of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

The Administrator of the Centre, Gabriel Nii Otu Ankra in an interview said the hospital was in dire need of funds indebted to it, to enable the facility to operate to avoid its closure.

He stated that the Authority was indebted to the King’s Medical Centre to a tune of GHC 633,959.57, covering medical cost from May to November 2013, saying, “we don’t understand why so many other hospitals have been paid, and we are not paid, meanwhile we are rendering humanitarian services”.

Mr. Ankra added that the authorities of the hospital have contacted the NHIA from the district, regional and national levels, but nothing positive had come out of it.

He described as quite unfortunate that institutions that were complementing government’s efforts, especially in quality healthcare delivery, were sometimes not getting the needed assistance adding that most people in the hospital’s catchment area were poor rural farmers, and since there was no “cash and carry” in the facility, it was relying solely on the NHIS to generate revenue.

According to him, due to the indebtedness, all the supplies of the hospital, including drugs, have run out, and that the hospital could not pay the January salaries of its staff, and that this has compelled management to close the facility down.

Alhassan Yakubu, a patient who came to the facility and was told of the closure, appeared unhappy and appealed to the authorities, especially government to pay the claims otherwise the inhabitants would suffer.

Alhassan Mohammed, a cleaner at the facility, was also not happy that the hospital had not paid him, even though the month had ended stressing that he had so many dependents.

When contacted, the Northern Regional Manager of the NHIA, Alhaji Hudu Iddrisu, gave the assurance that many facilities under the Tamale Metropolis as well as Savelugu/Nanton and Kumbungu districts, including the King’s Medical Centre, were going to be paid.

He explained that the delay in payment was as a result of a Claims Processing Centre (CPC) that was being piloted, and those three districts were being used, and as a result, there were space and personnel problems, which affected payments to some hospitals.

Alhaji Iddrisu said it was unfortunate that the situation had reached that level, and urged the authorities of the hospital to exercise patience.