General News of Friday, 13 February 2015
In a passionate warning, the Volta Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service Dr. Joseph Teye Nuertey has given the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) 30 days to honour its agreement to pay debts owed hospitals.
Public hospitals are broke and unable to shoulder the weight of its utility bills because its monies remain trapped with the National Insurance Authority.
Hospitals owe up to GHC30,000 for power and GHC10,00 for water. NHIA has been asked to either pay up their debt or embrace the return of cash and carry.
Some hospitals are owed up to seven months in arrears.
In a rare show of emotion, Dr. Joseph Teye Nuertey told a news conference Thursday, “We just want to sound a note of caution….we have kept our part of the agreement for far too along while NHIA has blatantly refused to keep its part of our agreement.”
He said the woes of health facilities in the region got worse after Government decided to stop paying utility bills in a bid to wean off public institutions.
Since then, his office has had its electricity disconnected and GHS in the region has had to beg for itself and for other health facilities whenever power is cut off.
“Since 2014, they started bringing in huge bills”, the Director told Joy News.
Turning the heat on NHIA in order to remain operational, the GHS said he would be meeting medical superintendents to take a decision if NHIA does not pay up.
“Our resilience and the little light left in our facilities is getting exhausted,” he explained.
In response, the communications manager at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Selorm Adonoo told Joy News, hospitals in the region will receive some payments next week.
He refrained from quantifying the payment to be made but said it will be “something which is quite okay.”
Unconvinced, the Volta Regional Director said it was typical of the NHIA to go pecking at huge debts often paying only one-month arrears.
He said if that was what the NHIA was contemplating, that payment would be just “scratching the surface of the challenge”.