Korle Bu is broke; Owes over GH¢2m in salaries

The financial capability of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital is hanging in the balance, as the expenditure of the country’s premier health facility far outweighed its revenue between January and July this year.

If it is not resolved immediately, the looming financial crisis will make it difficult for the hospital to pay the salaries of some members of staff for this month, replace its worn out equipment, as well as pay its contractors and suppliers.

The situation is also likely to undermine healthcare delivery at the hospital.

Currently, the hospital owes more than GH¢2 million in salary arrears to some of its workers.

This precarious picture was painted by the senior staff association (SSA) of the hospital in a petition addressed to the Minister of Health, Dr Kweku Agyemang-Mensah.

The petition, signed by the Secretary of the SSA, Mr Clifford Oblitey, was in reaction to a financial statement presented by the Director of Finance of the hospital at a meeting of departmental heads last Wednesday, August 13, 2014.

According to the financial statement, which was attached to the petition, the hospital’s total expenditure from January to July stood at GH¢8,942,598.78, while its net receipts registered GH¢1,844,364.25, leaving a funding gap of GH¢7,098,234.53. The issues 

The petition blamed the immediate past acting Chief Executive of the hospital, Rev Albert O. Botchway, and the Board Chairman, Mr Edward Annan, for ‘erratic and non-core expenditure’.

It said although the association had warned of a financial meltdown, Rev Botchway and Mr Annan had ‘kept making contrary and false claims’.

‘At the moment, many machines in the Radiology Department are not working and the hospital will not be able to meet its financial commitment to staff, suppliers and contractors who have been contracted to provide various essential services.

‘There will be serious disruption in patient care in several areas and a good number of members of staff who are on the internally generated funds (IGFs) will not be paid their salaries to mitigate living conditions,’ it stated.

It, therefore, prevailed on the minister to, as a matter of urgency, direct the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to reimburse the hospital’s outstanding claims.  Reaction

Responding to the issues raised in the petition, the Public Relations Officer of the hospital, Mr Mustapha Salifu, confirmed the financial challenges facing the hospital but denied that the situation had got to a crisis point.

He said the hospital was not in a financial crisis, although it had challenges owing to the payment of the salaries of some staff on IGFs.

Mr Salifu explained that the hospital’s financial issues were mainly due to the arrears and salaries that had to be paid to the staff on the hospital’s IGFs.

Although he did not disclose the total amount involved, Mr Salifu said more than GH¢10 million had so far been paid to the staff and there was still about GH¢2 million to be paid.

‘Management has taken the responsibility to pay some staff and there are some arrears to be paid which are draining the hospital’s coffers,’ he stated. NHIS claims

Another factor militating against the hospital’s finances, he said, was the delay in the payment of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) claims. 

Currently, the NHIA is indebted to the hospital to the tune of GH¢6.5 million.

Responding to a question on the vehicles bought for the deputy directors of the hospital, Mr Salifu said the directors had resolved to pay up for the vehicles on their own.

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