General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
A group calling itself the Coalition for Change in Government Institutions is calling on government to as a matter of urgency deploy a team of auditors to the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) to conduct in-depth investigations into what it described as pure thievery.
The group last week, raised concerns about the return of ‘cash and carry’ to the facility compelling subscribers of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to purchase covered drugs from outside at their own cost.
The group belies the Hospital Administration and Management Software (HAMS) used in billing clients is shortchanging them and therefore insist an audit must be conducted to unmask the modus operandi of this ‘stealing system’.
“The coalition has observed after a careful study, that the engine for the stealing in the hospital is greatly done by the software called HAMS. This intranet system is an automated one with fully loaded tariffs for every condition as either covered by NHIS or not. The monster called HAMS, is deliberately fashioned to loot unsuspecting customers. It automatically bundles every patient into an already prepared tariff system. In this case, a patient who is asked to go buy almost everything for his/her treatment is unaware he’s on an already prepared tariff. After discharge, the said tariff bill is forwarded to NHIS to be paid for the same patient in addition to all the cash paid by the patient for the consumables for the same procedure or treatment. By inference, the NHIS pays for the same treatment the patient pays for, even sometimes 3 times the same amount”
The coalition is forced to return to this crusade because it appears the management of the facility is not ready to dwell on their core mandate as a health care provider. It is not funny to keep messing with the lives of innocent Ghanaians in the manner the management of the Tamale Teaching Hospital are doing it. Much so when it is done to the poor suffering masses with so much impunity and arrogance
All referred cases to the Tamale Teaching Hospital-T.T.H or any other Teaching Hospital requires tertiary care. This is the ultimate care needed by such clients. This care comes with its own cost, obviously higher than that of various inferior health centers as CHIPS compounds, clinics, and regional hospitals. For this reason, such patients need specialist care. The Accident and Emergency (A&E) ward of the almighty T.T.H has worked without a specialist for God knows how long. A very sensitive ward as A&E, that needs to revive potentially “dead” clients has a parade of house officers and Medical officers managing it.
For non-technical readers, a house officer is a medical doctor who is on his “national service” to learn on the job. They must have the housemanship to fully qualify as Doctors. Medical officers on the other hand are newly qualified Doctors. The rank of doctors actually starts with a Medical doctor. These are the qualities of the officers Dr. Akanbong and his management have put in place to give us tertiary care. Attached are details of a client with severe head injury with a bilateral femoral fracture who was referred to the T.T.H from Bolgatanga on the 21-01-2016. He has been on the ward for 36 hours and is yet to see the specialist he was referred to.
Continued extortion through collaboration
The management of the hospital has further institutionalized the day light robbery of patients and their relatives through purposive collaboration. The impunity in this particular act is so repugnant. The obstetric and gynecological department has a fee for all mothers with delivered babies. The relative, especially the husband is requested to pay an amount of 22.00 before seeing the delivered baby. You either pay or you do not see the baby and or the mother. As if it is not enough, a staff who also pushes a patient out of the theatre will take 10.00 from the patient or relatives. The ward managers also have a monopolized market just at the entrance of the ward for selling baby and mother items at prices you can safely predict. Perhaps they had special lessons from higher management. This sole marketer interestingly seats in front of a CCTV camera that is supposed to be monitored. We attach a copy of a picture of a staff and the sole marketer in a conversation.
The inconsistencies of a confused management
Reacting to our press statement in separate interviews, Bishara and Diamond radios, it was clear the management of the hospital was only good at implementing fraudulent policies. They actually have confirmed their cluelessness in managing the affairs of the facility. Whiles the assistant public relations officer, Mr. Ahmed Farid said on Bishara FM, that the earlier decision to “steal” from patients was arrived at a meeting between all the stakeholders (Departmental heads), his boss, Dr. Prosper Akanbong (C.E.O.) claimed in another telephone interview (Diamond FM), that the decision was not meant for implementation, and that he only deliberated with a colleague manager on the issue. He claimed the said memo was yet to be implemented.
We attach again for your perusal a copy of a receipt of Madam Awulatu Abdulai (NHIS card holder), who had to cough up 138.00 as cash payment for a caesarian pack on the 19-01-2017. This is unacceptable.
Dr. Akanbong also made it clear in the same interview, that the supposed Anaesthetic assessment fee of 25.00 per patient was an administrative kickback or management fees. Either way, such payments are dubious. It is not the patient who comes for just an assessment and possibly go to see a surgeon for an operation that should pay for the management of an office. Who manages these kickbacks and how same is managed is yet also to be uncovered.
The HAMS debacle
The coalition has observed after a careful study, that the engine for the stealing in the hospital is greatly done by the software called HAMS. This intranet system is an automated one with fully loaded tariffs for every condition as either covered by NHIS or not. The monster called HAMS, is deliberately fashioned to loot unsuspecting customers. It automatically bundles every patient into an already prepared tariff system. In this case, a patient who is asked to go buy almost everything for his/her treatment is unaware he’s on an already prepared tariff. After discharge, the said tariffed bill is forwarded to NHIS to be paid for the same patient in addition to all the cash paid by the patient for the consumables for the same procedure or treatment. By inference, the NHIS pays for the same treatment the patient pays for, even sometimes 3 times the same amount. An attached document in the case Mr. Tagba Peter is a vivid example.
We call on the government to immediately deploy an audit team to invade the HAMS of the facility and to stop the wholesale thievery that is ongoing. The coalition has also taken notice of the recent memo released a few hours after our first release on this issue. The above narrations suggest that memo was a whitewash intended to deceive the public. We call again on all stakeholders to start speaking on the issue, especially the media, chiefs and politicians in government offices. We cannot afford to travel out of the country for medical treatment. Our only hope is the T.T.H.