Implementation of One Time Insurance Premium on course – Dr Kumbuor

Dr Ben Kumbuor, Deputy Minister for Health, says the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), is initiating measures towards the introduction of a one time premium payment for the scheme.

He explains that the steps are aimed at meeting the needs of the public and sustaining delivery of quality health care to the people.

Dr Kumbuor was speaking at the opening of a three-day seminar to review the successes, constraints and challenges associated with the implementation of the scheme, for management staff of the NHIA at Sogakope in the Volta Region on Friday.

He said although poverty remained a central issue, the demand for health insurance was driven by other factors such as the changing perceptions of patients to health care, rising expectation and demand for health services from the public

Dr Kumbuor said “One of the biggest assignments as scheme managers is the need to raise the level of awareness among the health workers on the need to conform to agreed norms”.

He said that reports about malpractices in the costing of services and claims should be an eye opener for all.

Dr Kumbuor said it was therefore pertinent for managers to move towards the stage where it would not be business as usual but to understand the demands and changes the law imposed and prepare for the needed organizational change.

He said the task ahead of the authority was enormous and noted that there was no doubt about the commitment and competence of the managers.

Mr Sylvester Mensah, Chief Executive Officer of NHIS, said it was expected that by the end of December 2010, the NHIS would have been fully portable and sustainable scheme supported and driven by a robust ICT solution.

Others are a revised legal regime that addresses most of the internal, horizontal and vertical inconsistencies that have characterized the current legal regime.

He said it was a collective duty to develop a Gantt chart on programmes, activities and tasks that would lead to better outcomes adding “together we are blazing the trail in the evolution of a workplace and sustainable health insurance scheme, which we must feel proud and privileged for the role fate has bestowed on us to grow”.

Mr Mensah said the seminar would be included in the medium and long term strategic plan which would be ready before the end of the year.

He said the strategic plan was therefore to build a scheme that would stand out as a model for Africa and beyond providing affordable, accessible and quality health services for all domiciled in the country.

Mr Mensah said this required strategic thinking, benchmarking best practices, teamwork and excellent working relations, efficient use of resources, sympathy and empathy for the deprived and socially marginalized as well as learning and improvement in new ideas.

He announced that directors of the scheme would sign performance contract with the NHIA towards the immediate target to be realized by December 2009 and expectations for the same period as a vital part of staff appraisal and reward system..

Mr Edward K. Doe Adjaho, NHIA Council Chairman, said the Council would take keen interest in the manner management effectively and efficiently implemented policies and strategies towards achieving objectives set under the NHIS.

He said the Council had charged management to embark on legislature review of the current law on health insurance and noted that “Council cannot compromise on the deadline without any reasonable excuse”.

Mr Adjaho said Council had endorsed the decision to conduct forensic audit into the operations of the NHIS including the 145 schemes in the country.

“The exercise should not be seen as one for victimization but accountability by office holders,” he added.