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22.07.2008 Health

Health Insurance Workers threaten to go on strike

By gna
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The Association of Mutual Health Insurance Scheme has threatened to go on a two-week sit-down strike if urgent measures are not taken to address the impasse between workers of the scheme and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Ras Boateng.

“The association is convinced that with the current administrative style and policies of Mr. Boateng, the sustainability of the scheme cannot be guaranteed,” it said in a statement issued in Bolgatanga.

The association said several attempts to get Mr Boateng to address some pertinent issues confronting the scheme as well as staff had failed as a result of “corporate dictatorship style being adopted by the CEO.”

The statement was jointly signed by its National President Mr. Stephen Kwaku Kankam and General Secretary Mr. Kingsley Bobie.
It said that the strike would begin from July 23 to August 5.
The statement said they had already petitioned the sector minister in a 16-page letter stating their grievances with a stipulated deadline of June 30.

“With the inability of the minister to address the issues, the Association has as the next logical step, decided to address our grievances to the President of the Republic who is the appointing authority.”

Their grievances include their opposition to Mr. Boateng’s imposed strategic plans which seeks to centralize the scheme in Accra against the original plan to decentralize it as enshrined in the National Health Insurance Act 2003 and Act 650.

The association described the current tariff system put in place by Mr. Boateng’s administration as a “killer tariff” regime and warned that all the schemes nationwide were likely to collapse should government heed to calls by the so-called expert advice the CEO seemed to portray.

It mentioned the non-availability of operational manuals for the scheme to ensure standards and uniformity, lack of relevant training for management staff, non-existing human resource guidelines and failure to appreciate and implement cardinal concepts of the programme such as cross-subsidization and risk equalization due to uninformed knowledge on the part of the CEO among others.

The association said it was aware of the discomfort being created by scheme personnel against Mr. Boateng as a result of the objectivity they have always stood for in discussing matters concerning health insurance and for that matter the CEO had devised a tactic to “weed out the opponents of his corporate dictatorship.”

The association said “we vehemently repulse his sinister attempt to deceive the public into believing that the personnel enrolled to the scheme are not competent and qualified and that they should be dismissed.”

It condemned the aptitude test drill conducted by the National Health Insurance Authority for accountants of the scheme and said monies voted for the test could have been used to train the accountants in health insurance financial management.
“Our position on the plan is that it is full of illegalities and cannot therefore be implemented within the framework of Act 650 and LI 1809 and hence the amount spent on its preparation is a big financial loss to the NHIS.”

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