Alit Kertaraharja, The Jakarta Post, Buleleng
Late payment of health insurance for the poor at Buleleng regency hospital in Bali has forced many patients to buy medicine outside the hospital at higher prices.
Resident Partha Pacung said he had to come up with millions of rupiah to pay for his medicine. The resident of Tigewasa village in Banjar district said the hospital was no longer treating poor people.
The hospital has not yet received some Rp 4.5 billion for insurance claims for poor residents from the insurance company PT Askes from July to November.
"We're in a complicated position right now. On one hand, drug supplies are drying out. On the other hand, we still cannot purchase medicine since we still have debts as well, while the patients badly need medicine," hospital director Nyoman Mardana told The Jakarta Post.
He said the hospital had been charging more insurance money to the company since more Buleleng residents were seeking care under the health insurance scheme for the poor.
He estimated there were some 1,000 to 1,200 low-income residents seeking health treatments at the hospital every month.
He said the hospital covered the medical expenses before charging the fees to the insurance company.
The insurance company would usually pay up the claims every month, he added.
"On average, the insurance company owes us between Rp 800 million and Rp 1 billion each month.
"It means that the hospital spends some Rp 1 billion a month to treat poor patients," Mardana said.
The hospital has outstanding debts to drug traders estimated to reach billions of rupiah.
"We cannot take more medicine but we're running out of drug supplies," he said.
The hospital has been sending the insurance claims since July and has contacted the insurance company.
"I've called the company and was told the money would be transferred today. But if the money is already being transferred, the receipt should have been sent to us," Mardana said.