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Private NHIS service providers threaten to withdraw services from March 1

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Two private sector associations providing healthcare services under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) have threatened to withdraw their services from March 1, this year if the government does not take action to address the challenges confronting them.

The two — the Private Health Facilities Association of Ghana and the Health Insurance Service Providers Association of Ghana (HISPAG) — said utterances by and inaction on the part of the government were having a toll on their sustainability and effective operations.

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday (February 18), the Executive Director of the HISPAG, Mr Frank Torblu, said an announcement by the government that it owed providers only three months’ arrears had caused the Pharmacy Council and other institutions that provided them with medical supplies to put their services on hold.

In reality, however, the government was in arrears of between nine and 14 months, he said.

Additionally, Mr Torblu said, the announcement on the arrears had resulted in harassment from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is dragging the associations to court and threatening to close their facilities because they had delayed in paying their pay as you earn (PAYE), although they had not earned anything yet.

“It is sad for us to put our lives at risk to save the lives and credit patrons of the NHIS at our own inconvenience but suffer at the hands of our debtors, such as the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and the GRA,” he said.

He appealed to SSNIT, the GRA, utility providers and prosecutors to critically examine the situation in which NHIS service providers found themselves and appreciate their circumstance.

He said the refusal of the government to pay them for over nine months was giving them reason to believe the rumours making the rounds that it was planning to stop private facilities from providing services under the NHIS.

“We pray that what we are hearing is not true. The gains made by the NHIS over the years will be eroded, while its purpose as the biggest social intervention in the country will be defeated,” Mr Torblu said.

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