The Ashanti Business Owners Association (ABOA), in Kumasi, has paid GH₵100,000 to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to settle the bills of some patients detained at the hospital after treatment.
The gesture which was undertaken during the Christmas season, according to the leadership of the Association, was hoped to afford the discharged patients to be able to join their families to mark the Christian festival.
The Executive Secretary of ABOA, Charles Appiah, said the gesture was critical to have the beneficiaries celebrate Christmas at home with relatives.
“We realised they were people who have received treatment that paying bills was a problem so they have been detained in the hospital.
“For us, it does not mark Christmas, so we asked what we can do to alleviate them from this plight. Then members brought together their resources and we were able to raise GH₵100,000 so that they can also celebrate the Christmas with their families.”
30-year-old Kofi Owusu, for example, was admitted after fracturing his leg after falling off a tractor, admitted to the Male Ward of the Clinical Decision Unit of the Hospital, said the Hospital could not discharge him due to his inability to settle his bills.
He said: “I am supposed to pay ¢2,500. If I can pay they will fix me and discharge me but I can’t afford it.”
Sixty-seven other treated patients who had also been detained for their inability to meet their financial obligation to the Hospital also benefited from the gesture. However, despite the donation, not all 67 could go home because the money cannot cover all of them.
In total, the money catered for 70 percent of the patients. All the women and children were cleared while some men benefited.
The Medical Director at Komfo Anokye Hospital, Prof. Baffour Poku, explained the impact of such situations on operations. He said “A lot of the times patients are not able to pay their medical bills, and we cannot also allow everybody to go home as a popper else the company will grind to a halt.
“It is the same money we collect and use to buy medications and drugs, disposables, expendables, drugs, pay our water bills, electricity bills,” he said.
He said while they remain at the Hospital, they occupy beds needed for other patients. “We continue to feed them, as they continue to use the hospital water and electricity which bills we pay.”
The Medical Director noted that so long as they remain on the premises of the hospital, “if they fall sick again, we need to take care of them, it has a great impact on the hospital operations.”
He, however, indicated that arrangements are available to discharge those who show commitment to pay.
The social welfare system of the hospital encourages such patients to agree on a payment plan so that they will pay in installment for them to go home.
“Our social welfare system allows that each patient can agree, a payment plan with the hospital so that they will pay in installment and we allow them to go home.
“Of cause we have some poppers who irrespective of this offer are not able to pay at all.”