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NHIA forms committee to clampdown on illegal charges in hospitals – CEO reveals

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The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has taken a giant step to clampdown on persons and health facilities that allegedly charged beneficiaries of NHIS when they go to access medical care across the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the NHIA, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye disclosed that a committee known as “Illegal Payment Committee” has been formed at both the Regional and District levels with the mandate to collect first-hand information from beneficiaries pertaining to the conduct of the hospitals, what were the monies charged, are they within the package of the NHIS etc.

“We are doing this because we have the power to take away the license or credentials of any hospital that takes monies from our people. The National Health Insurance has the authority to take their credentials – this means that we don’t even give you approval to see our [NHIS] clients” he stressed.

He continued that, “Most big hospitals in Ghana, 80% of the money they use to run the hospitals comes from National Health Insurance. So when right now I call any hospital and tell them in the next four weeks, I am about to withdraw your credentials, they will send Chiefs to come and beg; so we have a big leverage and a big tool and the foundation to more or less enforce our rules but as you know, we don’t make rules to have culprits, we make rules so that there would be sanity in the system”.  

The NHIA Chief Executive Officer made the remarks during an interaction with the North East Regional Minister, Yidana Zakaria, when he paid a day’s working visit to the region on Wednesday November 30, 2022 together with board members and management.

The move by the authority will nip in the bud the persistent complaints by a section of the public that they pay for most drugs and other medical services when they visit the hospitals contrary to the policy proposition that the NHIS card is introduced to mitigate the cash burden on Ghanaians in accessing healthcare.

The North East Regional Minister, Mr. Yidana Zakaria, for his part expressed worry about the widespread complaints in the public that despite being registered onto the health insurance scheme, they are still made to pay monies when they visit the hospitals.

“…People to go the hospitals with their insurance cards and end up paying monies. We understand that it is not every treatment that is covered, for some you have to pay but others the scheme would take care of you, but when it is so widespread; the talk is not good for us and so I want to impress on you and the board, what could be the possible cause of this? I can’t put a finger on anything but I don’t rule out saboteurs in this because people want to the problems that the world is facing today” the Minister stated.

Notwithstanding this, the Minister commended the NHIA Chief Executive, the Board of Directors and Management Staff of the authority for their relentless efforts to provide quality service to the ordinary citizens.

He said the coverage of people in the region has been impressive and commended the CEO for his continuous support to the NHIS in the North East Region.

He stated not long ago the region received two brand new pickups to enable the performance of the staff in the area.

“Before then they were not mobile – they couldn’t move to the hinterlands to engage the people, so now mobility is not a problem. When my brother said you are an action man that really indicated you’re an action man” he emphasized.

Meanwhile the NHIA delegation also paid homage to the King of Mamprugu, Nayiri Abdulai Mahami Bohagu Shariga.

The CEO and Board Members also held close doors meetings with the staff of the authority in the area.