Review capitation module of NHIS – Scientists
The Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences (GABMLS) on Thursday called for a review of the capitation module of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to make tariffs more realistic.
It noted that the low and late reimbursement of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) funds had accounted for the failure of hospital management to sustain funding for medical laboratories.
Mr Prince Sodoke Amuzu, President of GABMLS, who was addressing a press briefing to announce the global Day celebration for the Association which falls on April 15 each year, stressed that poor funding had led to inadequate supplies of medical laboratory equipment and reagents which often reflected in the poor quality of laboratory diagnoses.
He said as practitioners of an autonomous profession, Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (BLS) has the responsibility to contribute from their sphere of professional competence to the general well being of their communities.
“Yet there is very little public knowledge about the role of BLS, thus the celebrations is to be held on the theme “Ethics” to throw more light and promote the key role played by scientists in this area of healthcare in terms of diagnosis and treatment of patients.”
Mr Amuzu said series of activities including talks and lectures had been scheduled to mark the occasion.
He explained that Laboratory Services was not guess work but required critical investigation of specimen to ascertain the cause of a problem and thus needed quality and standardised equipment to ensure correct diagnoses and so there was the need for funding to support such activities.
However with the current module, whether a test is conducted on a client or not the hospital receives the same amount for the services, so it appears logical for hospital management to ignore funding of medical laboratories.
“A practice overview conducted over the years in the country had produced evidence condemning the unethical conduct of some practitioners, but had ignored the root causes of their ethical dilemmas which often involved apparent mental conflicts between moral imperatives, in which to obey one would result in transgressing another.”
Mr Amuzu stated that although Biomedical Laboratory Scientists was one of the largest groups of healthcare professionals, their role in medicine was poorly understood by both the public and even colleagues within healthcare, who had a poor understanding of the vital role BLS played in medicine and public health.
“Most Doctors often request for more than one laboratory test for patients at a visit and yet the NHIS would recognise and provide for reimbursement for only a single test, which leads to loss of cost of recovery of medical laboratory supplies.”
He explained that due to low funding many hospital laboratories ran out of medical supplies regularly, leaving some practitioners in an ethical dilemma and “attempts to economise the consumables.
“These leaves them with limited option of reusing medical test tubes, running tests on un-calibrated equipment and running laboratory tests without controls.”
He said others in their efforts to service their large number of clients under the restricted conditions split medical test strips into two with a pair of scissors in order to serve more patients at the expense of quality of the test results.
Mr Amuzu therefore called on the NHIA to ensure the payment of realistic tariffs to mobilise enough revenue for quality health care delivery.