The Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua is reintroducing the abolished cash and carry system of healthcare services.
The Hospital has directed that all patients going on admission must make upfront payment of their medical bills before being admitted except elective cases.
Management of the hospital has directed that effective February 5, 2021 medical services must be restricted to any patient on admission who fails to make part payment of their medical bills within 72 hours.
The hospital will, however, attend to such patients for essential services as requested by In- charge of the various wards.
Starr News has also gathered that management of the hospital led by Dr Arko Akoto Ampaw has directed that a compulsory deposit payment be made by patients or pregnant women before elective surgery.
Management of the Eastern Regional Hospital has again directed that all feeding must be cut to patients in medical detention.
This was revealed during Starr News investigation into growing complaints of ‘cash and carry’ by some patients who claim to have been denied care for failure to make part payment of their medical bills.
A Senior Staff at the hospital showed a memo by management to justify the implementation of the policy.
According to the Senior staff “the Nurses and Doctors have done no wrong to demand part payment before a patient is admitted. If they don’t know they should ask instead of making false allegations of extortion or whatever, ” adding ” the new financial reforms aim at reducing patients indebtedness and maximize revenue mobilization for a robust Internally generated fund”.
The Eastern Regional Hospital is a referral Hospital for the Region.
In 2019, the hospital saw a general increase in all attendances. Whereas OPD attendance increased from 237,870 in 2018 to 266,296 in 2019. In-patient increased by from 21,014 in 2018 to 21,447 in 2019.
Similarly, average daily OPD attendance rose from 826 in 2018 to 927 in 2019 with a corresponding increase in average daily admissions from 58 in 2018 to 59 in 2019.
The new Management of the Hospital have expressed their displeasure over increasing phenomenon of none -payment of medical bills by patients
In 2018 for instance, the hospital lost about Ghc350,000 to about 75 poor and needy patients who could not pay their Medical bills hence absconded while some 212 signed undertaken to pay their bills in instalments which most could not fulfil their promise.
Again, a total of four hundred and thirty-one (431) patients treated and discharged at the hospital between January and June 2021 deferred payment of their medical bills through the intervention of Department of Social Welfare and subsequently released from medical detention.
The Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr.Akoto Ampaw told the media at a function “as a policy in this Hospital we save lives before we look at money so even if you don’t have money we will take care of you.so these patients requested for deferred payment which some have paid but majority have not which is quite problematic”.
Under the new Financial reforms, patients could only apply for financial undertaking for deferred payment only when he or she has made 50% payment of their medical bills.