The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has threatened to withdraw credential letters of healthcare providers that continue to charge its members illegal fees when they come to seek health care in their facilities.
According to the Authority, the charging of these illegal fees was having a toll on renewal of membership cards due to the bad experience they get whilst trying to seek healthcare in these facilities.
Mr Samuel Lobber, the Upper West Regional Manager of the NHIA who issued the threat during a media briefing in Wa, noted that these illegal charges were punishable per the contract NHIS and the service providers.
“Members who go through these bad experiences are likely to tell their experiences to potential members to influence them not to join the scheme”, he said.
Mr Lobber noted that hospital facilities were getting over 90 per cent of their revenue through the NHIS and risked collapsing if they happen to have their credential letters withdrawn.
He disclosed that currently, there was a committee at the instance of Parliament working on various punitive measures against service providers that charge illegal fees and encouraged members to help identify such facilities as they could no longer continue to hide their identity.
On the high cost of medicines, Mr Lobber pointed out that as a country, they were currently doing over 30 per cent of their healthcare cost on medicines, which according to him, was very bad as it surpassed the 24 per cent threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Regional Manager of the NHIA cited demand and supply-side moral hazards, insufficient enforcement of the gatekeeper system, poor road network, and poor mobile network connectivity as some of the challenges affecting operations of the scheme in the region.
He, therefore, advised members of the scheme to stop jumping from one facility to the other collecting drugs, which they never complete the course but just creating mini pharmaceuticals in their homes and burdening the scheme with cost.
Mr Lobber also advised members against making the District Hospitals their first point of call when seeking healthcare and that it often resulted in congestion in those facilities, which also led to compromised quality of care for members.
He encouraged members to use the primary healthcare facilities and when the need be they would be referred to the District Hospitals for further treatment, adding that this would also help reduce the cost burden on the scheme.