Health News of Mon, 30 Sep 20131

Korle-Bu reverts to old service charges

The Management of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has reverted to the old service rates, following queries raised by the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation of Parliament about the legality of new charges introduced by the hospital. The hospital introduced new service charges on September 17, 2013, but they attracted criticisms from the public and Parliament.

On September 18, the Subsidiary Committee of Parliament described the new fees as “illegal and unconstitutional” and ordered management of KBTH to stop charging them.

In response to the committee’s directive, the management of Korle Bu apologised to the public, particularly to patients, for the inconvenience and negative impression the management’s action had caused them.

When the Daily Graphic visited the hospital yesterday, it was discovered that calm had returned to the various departments of the hospital as patients were asked to pay the old charges.

A 43-year-old woman, Ms Eugenia Sarpong, who claimed to have paid GH¢16 for a new folder last Monday, said she was made to pay GH¢9 when she went for a new folder for her younger sister yesterday.

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“I was not surprised because I knew that the government would direct them to stop because it was not legal,” she said

Ms Sarpong said although the management of the hospital had reverted to the old charges, there was the need for measures to be put in place to ensure that it did not happen again.

A health official at the Outpatients Department (OPD), who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the charge for a new folder that rose to GH¢16 had been reverted to the previous GH¢9.

At the Central Laboratory, patients who paid GH¢14 for undergoing a full blood count (FBC) when the new charges were effected on Friday paid the previous charge of GH¢10 for the same service.

A visit to other departments including the Children’s Block revealed that management had reverted to the old charges.

When the acting Chief Executive Officer of Korle Bu, Dr David Nortey, was contacted, he said the decision of the hospital to increase its charges was not done with the intention to overburden patients.

He promised that management would refund the overpaid service charges to the affected patients and urged the public not to lose confidence in the hospital.

Dr Nortey said even though the hospital’s management was embarrassed by the turn of events, it was ready to put in place measures to forestall a repetition of what had happened.

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