Sat | Sep 23, 2017

NHF hard pressed to collect from MOH and other beneficiaries

Published:Thursday | September 14, 2017 | 9:01 AM
Monroe Ellis noted that there were 56 instances in the 2015-2016 fiscal year when the NHF ran out of pharmaceuticals and sundries because suppliers refused to deliver as they had not been paid for previous deliveries.

Scores of Jamaicans who depend on the National Health Fund (NHF) for benefits could be at risk, as the agency faces a cash crisis which developed because it cannot collect billions of dollars from beneficiaries, including the Ministry of Health.

At the end of the last fiscal year, the NHF was owed $4.5 billion with the health ministry accounting for 94 per cent of that amount.

To compound the problem facing the NHF, $2.9 billion of what it was owed by the health ministry, was overdue in excess of 90 days.

This, despite the NHF writing off $2 billion which it was owed by the health ministry.  

That’s one of the major findings of a performance audit of the NHF, conducted by the Auditor General’s Department and tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

In the report, Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis noted that some suppliers had withheld orders from the NHF because it failed to make timely payments of its bills 95.8 per cent of the time.

Monroe Ellis noted that there were 56 instances in the 2015-2016 fiscal year when the NHF ran out of pharmaceuticals and sundries because suppliers refused to deliver as they had not been paid for previous deliveries.

She says the NHF must move with alacrity to secure a permanent solution to the problem of receivables outstanding from the health ministry.