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Allocate utility bills for each patient on NHIS – GMA President


The president of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Dr. Frank Serebour has called for the government to increase the amount allocated to each patient under the National Health Insurance, to cater specifically for the mounting utility bills of hospitals. According to Dr Frank Serebuor who doubles as the medical superintendent for the Bekwai Government Hospital, the current arrangement which requires directors of government health facilities to pay water and electricity bills from their NHIS claims and Internally Generated Funds is unsustainable.

“Initially, the government was paying our utility bills. Once the government has decided not to pay, realistic tariffs that factor in the cost of electricity and water should be paid,” he insisted. His call comes at a time when the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is pursuing some 91 hospitals for owing them about Ghc261 million in debt.

“The current situation is challenging, with entities like the Electricity Company of Ghana requiring their payments while hospitals are facing unprecedented hard times, he stressed. He told Prof. Samuel Gyasi Fosu host of Bresosem on Abusua FM that hospitals located far away from the urban centers bear a greater brunt as most of their patients use the National Health Insurance.

90% of the people who come to Bekwai Government Hospital, for instance, hold National Health Insurance. If you come to my facility, we spend two-thirds of our National Health Insurance claims on electricity alone, he stressed.

“How can I manage the facility with the remaining amount left? It’s not possible,” he noted.

He warned until the government finds the means to cater for the utility bills of essential public services like hospitals, the consequences on healthcare delivery will be dire. “These are government-owned facilities, measures should be put in place so that the government can pay these bills on behalf of the people, or tariffs are adjusted in such a way that Insurance money will cover them because we’re all contributing to the payment,” he noted.

Dr. Serebour further proposed a reevaluation of the collection and allocation processes of National Health Insurance funds to ensure sustainability and equitable distribution for all stakeholders involved.

He called for all agencies responsible for collecting Health Insurance levies and premiums to be transparent with how much was generated for the scheme and how much has been disbursed from the Consolidated Fund back to the NHIA for disbursement of claims to the various health facilities.

Source: Ghana/ Owusu


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