U/E regional HISPAG threaten to restore cash and carry

The Upper East Regional branch of Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG), has threatened to restore the cash and carry system of health care delivery for NHIS cards holders from Monday, February 15, 2016 , if the National Health Insurance Authority  (NHIA) does not urgently pay their over 10 months arrears owed them.

In an interview with Citi News, the Upper East Regional President of HISPAG, Dr. Francis Asaana, who described as unprecedented the indebtedness of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to HISPAG members, is having dire impact on service delivery to NHIS subscribers.

Dr. Asaana lamented that several appeals to the authority to pay their arrears running into 10 months coupled with the authority’s lackadaisical altitude to operationalize  the reviewed service and drug tariffs, has left HISPAG with no option but to commence the cash and carry service system if nothing is done by Monday.

“It is unprecedented  for the first time, some of us have exceeded 10 months. if you look at Upper East, all the private health care providers have been paid between April and May last year(2015) and so members are owed millions of Ghana cedis between 8 to 10 months so the delay in bills payment by the NHIA is one factor,” he said.

Dr. Asaana also noted the service and drug tariffs which were supposed to be reviewed yearly to reflect  current market price of drugs were not reviewed in 2015.

According to him, “We wrote several times to the NHIA but they refused to do the review.  It took members’ uproar for it to finally be revised on December 15th, 2015, but they have since not been operationalized because the health minister has not yet signed the document.”

He says they are forced to continue with the old tariffs with about 80% of drugs on the market price now above the insurance tariffs.

Dr. Asaana further pleaded with the Health Minister to as a matter of urgency, oversee the revision of drug tarrifs.

“…so as a matter of urgency, the health minister should sign on the revised service and drug tariffs for implementation. We are virtually doing  cash and carry for the drugs, 90% of the hospitals do not have enough drugs so we treat the patients, we write for them to go to town and buy the drugs which is not correct,” he lamented.

Dr. Asaana stressed that, they have notifed the authority about their intention to commence cash and carry service delivery if part of their unpaid claims are not released by Moday, 15th February.

He reiterated that with effect from Monday,  health insurance card bearing members visiting their facilities would not be attended to unless they  pay cash.

By Fred Awuni/citifmonline.com/Ghana