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07.12.2007 Health

C/R NHIS helps to enhance health care delivery


Clients of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) from any part of the country, can access ready health care at the Cape Coast district hospital, if they fall ill, while visiting the Cape Coast municipality, instead of having to travel back to their scheme areas.

Clients from about 90 districts in the country have so far benefited from this arrangement since its inception.

Mr. Emmanuel Gyamfi, Central Regional Coordinator of the NHIS, made this known at an 'orientation meeting' for media personnel on the state of the implementation of the NHIS in the region, at Cape Coast.

The meeting discussed challenges facing the scheme in the region, such as over prescription of drugs, inadequate number of staff, especially claims vetting officials and multiple usage of software for ID cards production.

He explained that the bills of such clients are sent to the NHIS office in Cape Coast for settlement, after which it forwards them to the various schemes to which they belong, for reimbursement.

He said in addition to this, although about four different soft wares are being used for the production of NHIS ID cards in the region, districts in the region have signed a memorandum of understanding, which enables residents to seek health care in any part of the region.

Touching on the payment of premium for the scheme, Mr Gyamfi said as at June this year, an amount of ¢9.4 billion has been paid, up from ¢5.3 billon in December last year, while 731,742 of the region's population of 1.7 million have been registered as against 558,726, within the same period.

He said 306,676 have been issued with their health insurance cards, and that measures were being evolved to ensure the payment of a uniform registration fee, to stem variations in the payment of such fees.

Measures were also being taken to ensure accountability for premiums paid, such as the opening
of bank accounts and monitoring of collectors.

According to him, these measures have become necessary because of some “fraudulent and indifferent collectors,” some of whom have been jailed in the Awutu-Efutu-Senya district, while others in the Gomoa district were being investigated.

He described the registration of children under 18 years, in accordance with the law, as a major challenge facing the scheme, since some parents of such children were not ready to join the scheme, making such “children to suffer unduly”.

He said as a result, the NHIS had intensified education about the need for such parents to register, adding, that the National Health Insurance Council (NHIC) was coming out with a uniform ID card as well as replace the health facility attendance cards with booklets.

He announced that scheme managers have been directed to pay service providers 40 % up front before claims are submitted for vetting, from January next year, to forestall delays in the payment of claims.

Mr Gyamfi called on the media to help enhance awareness about the benefits of the NHIS to accelerate quality health care delivery in the country.

The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Aaron Offei, also stressed the importance of the NHIS to quality health care delivery and urged the media to support its successful implementation.