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Health News Tue, 31 Aug 2010

Medical Assistants call for upward review of tariffs

Cape Coast, Aug. 31, GNA - The Ghana Medical Assistants' Association had called for the upward review of the tariffs given to them by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to save health centres from collapse.

The Association said even though they serve 70% of the country's population, mainly in the rural areas, the NHIA had sidelined them in tariff negotiations, thereby making their jobs 93virtually impossible".

In a communiqué issued after its council meeting in Cape Coast over the weekend and signed by its President, Chief Imoro Azumah, the Association said GH¢1.95 OPD charged per visit which include consultation and all other services, excluding drugs, should be immediately reviewed to be in consonance with charges at the various regional and district hospitals.

It also said the charge on dressing of wounds - 1.45 per two weeks - could collapse the operations of the health centres because the kind of wounds, such as buruli ulcers, treated in the in rural areas demanded more dressing materials before they could heal completely.

The communiqué expressed regret that the NHIA had refused to include them in negotiations for tariff review and also put restrictions on certain drugs that they should dispense and said it was a disincentive to their professional abilities and wondered why they were trained for the job.

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The communiqué said the restrictions were compounding the health problems of people in the rural areas as normal OPD diseases are to be referred to the urban centres and this could put pressure on the hospitals and deny people prompt medical care.

It said NHIA's decision was running their operations down and called on the appropriate authorities to find an amicable solution to the issue.

The communiqué said members of the association had been well trained to manage medical situations before referrals to the regional and district hospitals.

It also expressed concern about the arbitrarily slashing of claims submitted to the NHIS.

The Secretary of the Association, Norga Osman, called for the upgrading of the Medical Assistants' School at Kintampo into a degree awarding institution to facilitate their educational progression and appealed to the Ghana Health Service to have confidence in them because they could deliver.

Source: GNA