Mr Joseph Homenya, Volta Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has asked health facilities in the region to desist from charging members of the National Health Insurance Schemes (NHIS) GHC100.00 for every pint of blood.
He also cautioned them against detaining clients of the scheme at the health facilities for their inability to pay for blood used on them.
Mr Homenya who was addressing the mid-year review meeting of the Authority in Ho, which attracted key stakeholders to assess the performance of the scheme in the past six months, said blood was not a commodity for sale on the market and that the practice must stop.
He said it was unfortunate that hospitals in the region continued to charge NHIS members for top-up or co-payment and that despite government’s policy on free maternal care, covered under NHIS, clients were charged depending on consumables used for them and asked hospital authorities to sit up before the law caught up with them.
Mr Homenya said though it was difficult to get refund for clients for wrongful billing due to the irreversible software being used by the hospitals, the NHIS had prosecutorial powers to deal with people who defrauded the system.
He hinted that soon, the Authority would withdraw the credentials of some healthcare providers and prosecute officials found culpable in defrauding the scheme.
The Regional Director said myriads of challenges including; frequent breakdown of registration equipment, intermittent shortage of registration consumables and network downtime made it difficult for the scheme to meet its target, registering only 395,062 active members, representing 39.73 per cent out of a membership target of 994,210.
He lamented that though NHIS was catering for majority of sick people nationwide, the increasing number was without a corresponding funding and called for adequate investment cover as a required buffer.
Mr Homenya said that would address periodic delays in reimbursing healthcare providers.
Mr Robert Adatsi, Deputy Regional Director, Clinical Care, Ghana Health Service, Volta Region, said blame game would not address challenges between NHIS and healthcare providers and called for a joint monitoring team to address the concerns.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister said government was aware of challenges facing NHIS and had put measures in place to address them and called for support of all.
He commended staff of the scheme for the good work despite the challenges and said, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”