Service providers keeping the NHIS alive


By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

In spite of some experiences it is going through, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is making progress by supporting many people to receive medical care especially in the less privilege areas of the nation. My random visit to some hospitals and clinics and pharmacies at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and other parts of Ghana reveals that the identity cards of the scheme are still useful.

nhis logoDuring the recent biometric registration exercises the scheme has registered more than five million people representing subscribers in the Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti, and Volta, Greater Accra, Eastern and the Central regions. The Brong Ahafo Region will be the eighth region where the biometric registration will be rolled out. It will begin from Friday, May 22.
The biometric cards were being produced and issued instantly at the point of registration.
At a sensitization meeting with the media in Sunyani, the NHIA Director of Management Information System, Mr. Perry Nelson said the biometric cards, which will be valid for five years subject to yearly membership renewals, contain the basic demographic information and the biometric data of subscribers.

According to him, within the next two months, facilities would be put in place in all districts in the region by the NHIA to enable new subscribers and those renewing their cards to do so through the biometric system.

He appealed to subscribers whose cards had not expired not to rush but wait until about one month to the expiration of their cards before taking part in the biometric registration exercise.

Mr. Nelson further indicated that the old cards would be used together with the biometric ones until they were gradually phased out, explaining that: ?Whenever a subscriber goes to renew his/her membership, the old card will be taken and a new biometric one issued to him/her instantly.?

The staffs of the scheme deserve commendation for doing a yeoman?s job at all branches of the scheme by going to work early and closing late. Other partners of the scheme who deserve commendation are the service providers who continue to provide services to the members of the scheme in this trying moments of the scheme. Members of the public especially those who visit your facilities are happy and full of smiles anytime they are seen and diagnosed by medical officers and asked to collect medicines from pharmacies. The ministry of health and the national insurance authority have a duty to monitor the activities of service providers especially the way they treat NHIS card holders. All those found to be living up to expectation must be rewarded periodically to encourage others to improve their services.
Apart from the biometric registration which is likely to cut down of fraudulent use of the health insurance cards the capitation scheme is another means of getting subscribers of the scheme to choose service providers close to them. This will make it possible for service providers to know those who visit them regularly. This method will make it possible for the NHIS to know their budget for the service providers in advance. While the NHIS is working tirelessly to improve on their services the scheme require the support and encouragement of all Ghanaians to be able to succeed in their activities. As far as I am concerned the NHIS is alive to it?s responsibly. While there are challenges, especially with the payment of claims by the health providers, the system is still operating and requires the media to visit the nearest health facilities to verify for themselves.

Source: Executive Director
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