Health facilities in UWR charging illegal fees – NHIA

Health facilities in UWR charging illegal fees – NHIA

• Mr Samuel Lobber granting interview

Though clients have registered with the National Health Insur­ance Scheme (NHIS) to derive its benefits, it is shocking to note that over 90 per cent of health fa­cilities in the Upper West Region are involved in co-payment and charging of illegal fees from members.

The Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Author­ity (NHIA), Mr Samuel Lobber who revealed this said the worrying situation has caused clients to lose confidence in the scheme and had affected patronage of the scheme across the country.

“This problem is not peculiar to the Upper West Region; it is a national issue which is being tackled head-on by the Authority to ensure that we sanitize the system to improve clients’ confidence and patronage of the scheme”, he said.

Mr Lobber said this on the sidelines of an annual review meeting by the Authority in the region on the theme; “Sustaining our gains on Universal Health Care- a collective responsibil­ity”.

The Director disclosed that the credentials of about five facilities apprehended by the authority in the region last year were withheld for a period and those said facilities were surcharged to pay some monies to the authority to serve as deterrent to others and restore sanity in the system.

He said the reinstatement of the facilities in December last year after they had agreed to suspend their illegal practices was enable them to serve their clients.

He mentioned that to resolve the issue which had become a source of worry for the authority, co-payment committees have been constituted at the national, regional and district levels to ensure that such incidents were promptly identified, investigat­ed and dealt with.

This committee is being supported by a monitoring and evaluation team in the field where clients who go on community outreach and are pre­sented with complains of charging of illegal charges are able to investigate and report to the office to the head office for clinical audit report”, he added.

Explaining the issue, the Director said illegal fees and co-payment referred to charges that were levied clients owned NHIS cards at health facilities, even though the scheme covered those fees.

He said after charging the clients and refusing them receipts, the facilities sent claims to the NHIA for payment again; leading to double payment for one service rendered.

He used the opportunity to com­mend residents for embracing the scheme and massively patronizing their services and said, their accep­tance had led to the region’s attain­ment of the universal health cover­age (UHC).

He advised clients to be more vig­ilant and ensure that they were not paying for services that were covered by the Scheme.

Members were taught how to check for drugs and services covered by the scheme.

He called on healthcare provid­ers to stop charging illegal fees and make the health and wellbeing of their clients a topmost priority in order to save lives.

 From Lydia Darlington Fordjour, Wa

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