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General News Sun, 22 Feb 2004

Hospital worried about evasion of hospital bills

Tema, Feb. 22, GNA- Mr Peter K. Ampratwum, Senior Health Service Administrator of Tema General Hospital on Saturday stated that the hospital authorities are finding a solution to non-payment of hospital bills by some patients admitted to the hospital.

He expressed concern about the situation because this made the hospital incur huge debts, paid through internally generated funds that could be utilised for other areas at the hospital.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Mr Ampramtwum said that in 2003, 104 in-patients absconded leaving the hospital a debt of 49.7 millions while in 2002, 110 evaded 27.4 million cedis. He said the worse offenders were mothers who had stillborn. He said in 2003, 207 patients who attended the hospital also refused to pay 22 million cedis as against 466 patients who also incurred 8.6 million cedis in 2002.

The Administrator said the hospital engaged the services of the Department of Social Welfare, which carried out investigations and based upon its report such patients who were unable to settle their bills, were declared paupers.

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In some cases, benevolent societies and individuals intervened to pay on their behalf.

He said besides that, the hospital bares the cost of the medical expenses while arrangements were made for those who could to pay by instalments.

In view of the exemptions from the payment of hospital fees for pregnant mothers, children below five years and the aged it cost the hospital a total of 194 million cedis in 2003 in respect of 12,124 patients who attended the hospital. In 2002, a total of 6,434 expectant mothers, children below five years the aged who called for medical attention also cost 132.9 million cedis.

On relations between nurses and patients, Mr Ampramtwum said the situation was being monitored closely and any nurse caught in an unfriendly manner would be dealt with to serve as a deterrent to others. He said in recent times, patients were being treated as clients and it was the cordial relations of nurses and the entire staff that would make this work.

Source: GNA
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