A total of four hundred and thirty-one (431) patients treated and discharged at the Eastern Regional Hospital could not pay their medical bills between January and June 2020.
The affected patients, therefore, applied for deferred payment through the Department of Social Welfare to pay their medical debt in instalments.
Many of the patients were also not insured.
Medical Director of the Hospital Dr.Akoto Ampaw said during an interaction with the media in Koforidua “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 the majority have not which is quite problematic.”
The inability of patients to pay medical bills remains a challenge. For instance, the Hospital lost about GHC350,000 in 2018 to about 75 poor and needy patients who could not pay their medical bills who absconded while some 212 signed undertakings to pay their bills in installments.
Already, the Coronavirus pandemic decreased OPD attendance by 15.6% during the period under review affecting Internally Generated Funds of the hospital.
The total daily OPD attendance declined from 886 to 748 which cumulated to 71,663 during the period under review as compared to 84,669 the same period in 2019 and 77,076 in 2018.
However, overall admissions increased by 10.4% with daily admissions rising from 52 to 57
The contribution of the National Health Insurance Authority revenue stood at 43% down from 45% whilst out of pocket payment increased from 52% to 55%.
General expenditure of the hospital increased as a result of the Covid-19 activities and the hikes in health commodities.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Regional Hospital has introduced a barcoded PVC Plastic Patient Identification Card to face out the paper Patient ID cards.
The Hospital piloted the program during the scourge of Coronavirus Pandemic to reduce touching of patients ID cards to curb is spread infections among staff and clients.