PAC seeks answers for losses in health facilities

James Kamanzi, the deputy director-general of Rwanda Biomedical Centre (left), addresses members of the Public Accounts Committee as Dr Jean Pierre Nyemazi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health (centre), and RBC director-general Dr Sabin Nsanzimana look on at Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura yesterday. / Craish Bahizi

Some hospitals across the country have been faulted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for carelessness in preparing medical bills covered by insurance companies. 

This came up on Thursday as officials from the Ministry of Health, and Rwanda Biomedical Centre and Bushenge, Butaro, Kinihira, Gihundwe, Ngarama, Nyagatare hospitals appeared before the committee to explain shortcomings indicated by 2017/2018 Auditor-General Report.

MP Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, the PAC Chairperson, explained that the losses were caused by various malpractices and gave an example of Bushenge Hospital in Nyamasheke.

“The hospital incurred losses of Rwf51.9 million in one year due to medical bills that were rejected by insurance companies because health insurance covers had expired and the hospital had to foot the bill.”

He also noted that other medical bills were prepared under ‘wrong tariffs’, invalid cardholders and other errors.

Vedaste Tuganeyezu, the Director of Bushenge Hospital, admitted the mistake and explained that the issue was caused by many factors.

“We admit that staff committed errors of accepting expired health insurance cover but there are other errors that largely contributed to the losses.

They include cases where a patient requests laboratory test which is immediately recorded in the Electronic Medical records and gets billed, but if the patient doesn’t undergo the test, it triggers issues while sending invoices to insurance companies,” he said.

Other issues include unnecessary medical equipment supplied to hospitals that have led to Rwf322.4 million worth of equipment lying idle in hospitals.

James Kamanzi, the Deputy Director-General of RBC, said that in order to reduce the mistakes, there is an ongoing of capacity building for hospital employees.  

Dr. Jean-Pierre Nyemazi, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, explained that the issue was caused by studying whether they needed the equipment, hospitals in need of them as well as lack of monitoring equipment provided by donors. 

The Auditor General’s report also found that there were delays in the construction of five Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Laboratories worth Rwf300 million in Karongi district. 

The works were supposed to start in 2014 and be completed by 2015 but the handover took place in March 2019.

MP Ngabitsinze said considering that the contractor abandoned the works without even paying the workers, RBC should have reported the contractor to the public procurement authority for blacklisting but it was not done. 

MP Jean-Claude Ntezimana also asked why Rwf63 million was given to districts and Rwf300 million to Munini hospital for screening Ebola but there were no reports of how the money was spent. 

Kamanzi said that reports were never submitted to RBC on time due to a lack of management capacity on the part of hospitals and added that the issue will soon be resolved.

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