The Eastern Regional Hospital has introduced several reforms to reduce patients’ inability to pay their medical bills after treatment.
The reforms include setting up a social service medical team, made up of ward in-charges and medical officers, to alert management quickly on patients’ financial situation.
The team is tasked to register such patients not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Dr Arko Akoto-Ampaw, Medical Director, Eastern Regional Hospital, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Koforidua, said the reforms were part of proactive measures to avoid keeping discharged patients at the facility due to their inability to settle their medical bills.
He explained that the hospital incurred additional cost in keeping discharged patients for a long time at the facility as they had to be fed and given beds.
Besides, continuous detention resulted in emotional stress for such patients, he added.
He said the reforms became necessary after some 246 treated and discharged patients could not pay their medical bills of 281,902 Ghana cedis in 2020.
Dr Akoto-Ampaw noted that patients without national health insurance or any form of insurance had a high inability to pay their bills and urged the public to register onto the NHIS for access to quality and timely healthcare services.
In furtherance of the measures to ensure cost-effective services to the public, he said, all patients without insurance would be given critical medical care 72-hours within which time, it would be expected that they enrolled onto the NHIS while non-critical medical care and services would be denied until payments were made.
He, therefore, appealed to the public to ignore negative perceptions about the NHIS because it ensured timely access to healthcare services.
Dr Akoto-Ampaw said plans were advanced to set up a sickle cell screening for newborn babies as well as 4-D Ultrasonography, renal dialysis and orthopaedic services centre to ensure holistic medical services to the public.
Others include a cytology laboratory, an Automated Urine Analyzer, Daily Child Welfare Clinics at the Out-Patient Department and restoration of EID for HIV centres.