Upper West Regional Hospital, three others warned against illegal fee charges 

By Philip Tengzu 

Wa, (UW/R), March 27, GNA – The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has warned four health facilities in the Upper West Region for charging National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) active members for services covered by the scheme.   

The facilities were: the Upper West Regional Hospital, Lawra Municipal Hospital, St. Theresa’s Hospital in Nandom and the Babile Polyclinic. 

Mr Samuel Lobber Lekamwe, the Upper West Regional Director of the NHIA, revealed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Wa on the sidelines of the Authority’s 2023 regional annual performance review meeting. 

He cautioned the NHIS-accredited facilities in the Region and the country as a whole who were charging “illegal fees” to desist or risk losing their credentials if apprehended.  

“We are monitoring closely to see how they change or deepen it, and the letter says that when they are found to continue we will de-credential them straight away,” he indicated.  

He explained that illegal fee charges were a threat to the sustainability of the scheme and the Authority would do everything within its power to arrest that menace. 

He said, for instance, that illegal charges by health service providers were eroding member confidence and renewal in the Upper West Region.  

He indicated that a report on private health facilities in the region that were charging “illegal fees” had been submitted to the NHIA head office and that they would also soon be issued with the warning notice. 

He said it was frustrating for an NHIS client to visit the health facility and would be asked to pay for something that was covered by the insurance to which he or she had already subscribed. 

“We cannot allow people to continue to go there (the health facility) and go back home with other conditions resulting from the financial hardship they impose on them”, Mr Lekamwe said.  

He explained that some public health facilities were charging those “illegal fees” with the excuse of paying for their utility bills as the government had directed all public health facilities to foot those bills. 

He, however, said those facilities needed to negotiate with the government on its decision rather than relaying the burden on the “poor” NHIS client to pay.  

He also announced that the NHIA was reviewing its tariffs for medicines and services provided at the facilities to meet the needs of the health facilities due to inflation.  

Meanwhile, Mr Titus Sorey, the NHIA Northern Belt Director, reiterated the need for the staff of the authority to increase their public education to empower the members of the scheme to challenge illegal charges at NHIA-accredited facilities.