" ITREALMS: Health insurance, major challenge for hospital operators - ITREALMS

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Health insurance, major challenge for hospital operators - ITREALMS

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The Chief Medical Director (CMD), United Heart Hospital and Clinic Dr. Eugene Nwaosu, has lamented that the major challenge of running hospital in Nigeria is inability of Nigerians to enroll into health insurance to reduce out of pocket payments.
Dr. Eugene Nwaosu
He said most Nigerians do not have health insurance, rather payment is made at the point of service as good number of those with health insurance coverage is very poor and this has affected hospital operators in the country.

Nwaosu made this known at the five years anniversary of the hospital held at Victoria Island, Lagos, he noted that proper laws to support emergency coverage are not enforceable because of poor funding of healthcare care system.

He explained that in developed countries every patient presenting to emergency room must be treated irrespective of their ability to pay. He noted that those treatments offered to patients without means are truly not free but the system provides a way for such facilities to recover those funds in order to stay in business.

Nwaosu stated that almost all medical surgical equipment with their parts and supplies are imported in Nigeria. “Nigerians pay more for those products compared to the cost of operations in the countries of
origin. The service contracts are outrageous, for instance, in one-year service contract where one has many patients to cover while medical equipment malfunctions it will definitely affect the service.”

He disclosed true cost of quality care is out reach for most Nigerians, a few examples are the cost of life saving medications and procedures. For instance, medications used for acute stroke or heart attack to dissolve the blood clot 1 via cost (aiteplase) cost N582,000, coronary angiogram procedure to check the arteries to determine if the arteries are blocked cost N600,000, treating heart attack with coronary angiogram and stent cost N1.5 to 2million, treating severe sleep apnea with CPAP machines cost N1.2million among others.

Nwasu stated that Healthcare Maintenance Organisation (HMOs), and health insurance tariff are ridiculously low as one HMO offered N35,000 for chest check alone among others. This shows that healthcare service needs government interventions as well as Nigerians to enroll into health insurance.

He said naira instability and devolution is another major problem for all Nigerian business. “It is a nightmare I bought an equipment in April 2021 for N8.5million today 16 months after it sells for 14
million. A lot of people will characterize the state of Nigerian economy as being in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“Please note that a lot of hospitals have been ICU for many months now. It is common knowledge that some hospitals have not paid their staff salaries for months because there is no money”.

Chairman of the occasion Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi commended the celebrant adding that there is need for government to encourage hospital operators by creating enable environment especially the CMD of Unity Heart Hospital because who abandoned USA where he is practicing medicine and come back to Nigeria in order to give back to the society.

“Government need to direct banks to give loans to people like this and they will pay the loans in next five years because this is to give back to the society and not for profit purposes therefore government
need to encourage them.”

Chairman Board of Directors of United Heart Hospital and Clinic, Dr. Silvanus Okoli said the hospital is in forefront for prevention of heart diseases because prevention is better than cure.

He said the preventions include regular exercise, which would make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy

“Exercising regularly reduces your risk of having a heart attack”, he said.

*Paul Adunwoke/Editor

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