General News of Wednesday, 17 August 2016
The St Joseph’s Hospital at Effiduasi in the Eastern Region has denied media reports that it has fleeced its patients.
There are media reports that the hospital charged patients GH?6,000 to undergo what was supposed to be free knee and hip replacement surgeries.
According to the reports, the hospital was only supposed to host Operation Walk Syracuse, a US medical charity that was in Ghana in April to conduct free knee and hip replacement surgeries for some 50 shortlisted Ghanaians who suffered from various forms of joint arthritis.
They said the hospital breached the contract it had signed with the US charity by charging its patients that amount.
But in a rejoinder issued on behalf of the hospital by Cardinal Law Group, a law firm, the hospital said it was “disingenuous and unfortunate for any person to be purporting to be disseminating information to the public to rather accuse the hospital of extorting money from patients”.
It explained that the surgery would have cost each patient GH?25,000 but for the intervention of the hospital.
“It is important to note that by the opportunity provided by the hospital, instead of the actual average cost of GH?25,000, the beneficiary patients ended up paying GH?1,000 without putting the cost of the further facilities extended by the hospital in the form of the hospital beds, extra staff service (with attendant overtime inconvenience) and other overheads which the hospital had to bear at a huge cost,” it pointed out.
The hospital explained that the actual local cost was GH?6,000 but after a meeting between the partners on April 16, 2016, it was agreed with the hospital to charge a discounted cost of GH?1,000 instead of the actual local cost of GH?6,000.
“It was agreed that the aspect regarding feeding would be taken out,” it said.
It said 10 patients had paid GH?6,000; 14 had paid varying amounts between GH?1,000 and GH?6,000, while 20 others had made no payment.
It said having arrived at the discounted cost of GH?1,000, “the hospital immediately caused refunds to be made to the affected patients”.
“This was done on April 17, 2016, which was even a Sunday,” it said.
The hospital said it supported the pre-screening of patients and communicating with the US medical team for selection, provided snacks for the team during the entire week of the surgeries, provided daily transportation for the US team from their hotel lodging throughout the period and provided in-patient and post-operation care for all 44 patients between three and 10 days.
“We deserve appreciation”
It, therefore, argued that it deserved appreciation and commendation for extending “these humanitarian gestures to these patients who can now walk again”.
“We wish to put on record that in recognition of this immeasurable service the hospital provided, the US team has honoured the hospital with a citation.
“Indeed, our clients and the US team have already commenced the compilation of the next list of beneficiary patients towards the next visit to the latter in the year 2017,” it noted.
The hospital also assured the public that such “clear unwarranted attacks and misinformation to the public for reasons it cannot fathom” would not dissuade it from its mission of providing quality health care for all and sundry, even in the midst of dire financial hardships.
It also asked for a retraction of and apology for the said story.