Western Region complains about health insurance claims

stethoscope2The Western Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service has warned that any further delays by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in effecting payment of the remaining NHIS claims to service providers would result in cessation of health services to NHIS clients.

Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang, Western Regional Health Director, said about 95 percent of their clients were NHIS card holders therefore failure by the NHIA to immediately reimburse claims of service providers would pose serious challenge to healthcare services in the Region.

He made this known at the Annual Performance Review of the Ghana Health Service in Takoradi to take stock of the year under review as well as assess their challenges and achievements and chart the way forward.

The event, which was held on the theme, “Improving data to facilitate the achievement of health related Millennium Development Goals” brought together health professionals and key stakeholders in the health sector from the 22 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the Region.

Dr. Tinkorang indicated that the NHIA had paid claims of health service providers in the Region up to June 2014, and warned that if the NHIA did not pay the remaining amount in earnest, it would ground health services to a halt.

He appealed to the NHIA to urgently resolve the issue with dispatch to avoid any eventualities.

Dr. Tinkorang said last year was a challenging year for the health service in view of the outbreak of cholera as well as a threat of Ebola outbreak following reported cases in Guinea, Liberia and other West African countries.

He said maternal and newborn mortality rate also went high and still remained a major public health challenge with the Region recording 93 maternal mortality last year, compared to 87 cases recorded in 2013.

Dr Tinkorang said the health directorate had resolved to strengthen the maternal health audit team as well as continue the Life Saving Skills training of health workers and introduce half-year review conference to assess the situation.

He expressed regret that the performance of tuberculosis control in the Region was far below expectation, saying the TB cure rate was declining, especially in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis and called for reactivation of the TB control activities in order to improve case detection, reduce defaulter rate and increase treatment success rate.

The Regional Health Director said although the Region performed well in the Expanded Programme of Immunization and Integrated Disease Surveillance, the number of polio cases detected increased from 22 in 2013 to 47 in 2014.

He commended health professionals and all stakeholders for contributing towards the eradication of guinea worm infestation in the country, saying Ghana had been certified as guinea worm free country following assessment by the World Health Organisation last year.

Mr. Alfred Ekow Gyan, the Deputy Western Regional Minister, pledged government’s commitment to provide financial and logistical support to the Ghana Health Service to ensure quality health delivery.

He said the government had put mechanisms in place to ensure payment of arrears of the NHIS claims and subsequently effect payments of monthly claims without any more delays.

The minister advised health service providers to do due diligence by ensuring that claims were submitted in time to afford the NHIA the opportunity to vet them and effect payment on time.

He said the Region experienced improvements in some health indicators, especially with community-based health post services and out- patient attendance.

He therefore commended health workers for their hard work in curbing the cholera outbreak last year and maintaining Ebola free status and urged them not to rest on their oars.

Source: GNA

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