Illegal Charges ‘Killing’ Patients At “Trafalgar”
It was unclear who the targets of the in-charge of the gynaecology ward of the Volta Regional Hospital (Trafalgar) was, but the Ghana News Agency established that her hot exchanges are normal happenings in the ward.
Her screeches of “God will punish all of you. He will pay you all in the same measure, yes, My God will,” in the early hours of Monday were therefore habitual.
But investigations by the GNA revealed that illegal medical charges are key drivers of such vexations, with nurses sometimes in ‘boiling’ disagreements with account officers over patients’ bills.
Some other times, the arguments are between patients and account officers or nurses over alleged high charges.
Checks by the GNA indicate that some account officers in the Hospital are exploiting patients, by charging them high bills, without issuing receipts.
The practice is for officers to walk to the patients and mention the bill to them with options for negotiation on the amount and mode of payment-a deal.
C.K. (not his real name) a Security Officer told the GNA that his wife, who was discharged from the ward after suffering pregnancy complications, was given a bill of GHC150 by an Accounts Officer for tests she allegedly underwent at the laboratory.
He said when he asked the Officer why the test was not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme, he (Account Officer) told him that the bill could be negotiated, and that he should mention how much he could afford.
The Security man said he told the Finance Officer that he had only GHC50.00 on him to transport his wife home, but the Finance Officer insisted they shared the amount, so his “Boss” would be given “something”.
The Security man said when he requested to know the “Boss” being referred to, the Finance Officer retreated and said his “Boss” would not like to meet him and that they could leave without paying the bill, and cautioned them not to tell anyone about what transpired, because he was only trying to help.
Mary, believed to be in her thirties, is still enduring the hostile environment in the gynaecology ward due to her inability to pay her bill of GHC540.000, after being treated of childbirth complications.
After series of arguments with the nurses and account officers over the alleged high illegal bill, her sister took the bill away with no sign of returning soon.
When the GNA went undercover and contacted one stalky man in glasses said to be the Finance Officer who prepared the bill, he said three pints of blood and some laboratory tests were components of the GHC540.000 bill.
He however asked the reporter how much he could pay and that they could negotiate the money involved, depending on the pocket of the Reporter.
The Finance Officer said he could take GHC300.00 to cancel the cost of blood, urging the Reporter to go and come back and pay for Mary to go home.
When the Reporter returned with GHC100.00, he said the amount was not enough and that the Reporter should make it GHC200.00, but stressed he could not give receipt covering the GHC200.00 because “it is illegal” and his “Boss” will take something.
Meanwhile, Madam Innocentia Gborgblorvor, Nurse Manager at the Hospital told the GNA that they don’t sell blood to patients.
She said patients were only requested to look for people to replace blood used for them.
Dr. John Tampouri, the Medical Director of the Hospital said clients were to pay only certified bills at banks located at the Hospital and not to accounts officers or finance officers and assured that the issues would be investigated