Sylvester Mensah, NHIS Boss
Chamber of Pharmacy – the umbrella body of key pharmaceutical manufacturing, importing, distributing, wholesale and retailing companies – has withdrawn its services to hospitals covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The chamber in a release singed by the Lead Advocate, Ernest Owusu Aboagye, said the withdrawal of its credit facility to Health Insurance Service Providers was due to non-payment of arrears owed to the chamber by hospitals under the NHIS.
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) last year released GH¢104 million to service providers, covering claims for the months of August and September, that year.
The chamber described the amount as ‘woefully inadequate’ to cover the debts and therefore demanded that the NHIA should pay the pharmaceutical companies the arrears up to January 2014, but the NHIA released money to pay for just two months.
In a letter to the President of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association (HISPAG), the chamber indicated, ‘We wish to state that pursuant to an earlier notice issued through the media and agreement arrived between members at a regular meeting last week, effective 1st August 2014, all members of the Chamber shall not supply any medicines on credit to any facility or health institution that is in arrears beyond two months’.
It further indicated that any supply of medicines to any facility shall be on cash basis only, except where the facility/institution is in arrears not exceeding two months.
The chamber said the action had been necessitated by the rather long delay in health insurance re-imbursement which it claimed, had made it difficult for many facilities and institutions across that country to honour their medicine payment obligation.
‘This regrettable decision has been taken to forestall further loss of capital in the wake of rising operational costs, steep depreciation of the cedi against the dollar and the dire consequences these could have if nothing is done to reverse the situation,’ it said.
It further stated that it had on several occasions drawn the attention of government, stakeholders and Ghanaians to the potential risk these delays have on the liquidity and survival of members of the Chamber.
Selorm Adonoo, communications officer at NHIA, in reaction to the decision by the group, said the authority was on track with the payment of the claims to service providers, adding that it takes approximately 30 days for claims to be processed and 60 days for them to be vetted for payments to be made.
He said the authority was working with the Ministry of Finance to release more funds for March 2014 claims.
BY Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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