The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital says it will henceforth demand cash deposits on all elective cases at the hospital.

This means non-emergency patients, who are not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme will have to make advanced payments before they would be attended to.

Officials of the hospital say the move is part of efforts to check the rate at which treated patients abscond from the hospital without settling their bills.

Unpaid bills of abscondee patients constitute more than 5 per cent of the hospital’s loss in recent times.

Though figures are not readily available, hospital officials say despite the presence of heavy security personnel and Close Circuit Cameras, patients who visit the health facility have been absconding without settling their bills.

Public Relations Officer, Kwame Frimpong told Nhyira FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah that though the hospital is not a profit making venture, the refusal of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to pay claims on some 43-conditions is affecting the hospital financially.

The hospital has been in the news for demanding cash payment from NHIS card holders.

With the exception of the 43 tumor-related cases which are not covered by the National Health Insurance, the hospital still accept and render services to NHIS subscribers.

According to Mr. Frimpong, the hospital will continue to be the highest service provider for the National Health Insurance.

He argued, “Komfo Anokye is not a fortress; it’s not a castle, even the residence of the Queen of England was invaded despite all the security arrangements which means that there is no hundred per cent security-proof facility and more so this place being a hospital it is impossible for us to guard it around the clock. For instance, during visiting hours, we have a lot of people coming in, we have a lot of people going out”.

Those periods patients can run away without settling bills.

“[Within] those periods, it is possible for somebody (patient) to just mix-up with the people as if he is also a visitor. So there is a possibility that people do and can run away”, he explained.

According to Mr. Frimpong, the situation calls for stringent measures like this one.

“It is serious to the extent that we are now taken a measure to make sure that if you come here on [an] elective case and it is not an emergency, you will be expected to pay a certain deposit depending upon your medical condition. If you are a health insurance patient, you are excluded and again another category of people who would be excluded would be those who come here in emergencies,” he added.

Mr. Frimpong said management will ensure issues surrounding the payment of already treated 43-tumour-related cases from the NHIA, are resolved amicably.

This according to him will enable KATH render quality and affordable service to the ordinary Ghanaian.

“We‘ve written to the authority appealing for some consideration to be given to us in respect to the bills that we’ve already presented in the area of these medical conditions…so there is already a symbiotic relationship between these two agencies of the Ministry of Health and management is in constant talks with the authority with the hope we will arrive at a mutually acceptable solution to this problem”, he said.

Meanwhile, the National Health Insurance Authority has rescheduled a press conference on Thursday to address concerns raised by the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

Story by Ohemeng Tawiah, Nhyira Fm-Kumasi