NHIA is to Change from Manual to Electronic Operations ─ CEO
The operations of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is to become fully electronic with the introduction of the Ghana Card, Dr. Samuel Yaw Annor, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority announced in Sunyani.
He said the NHIA was undergoing re-organisation to change in the immediate future from the manual mode of operations to a more technological method to improve competency and efficiency in its service delivery to meet the expectations of clients, service providers and Ghanaians in general.
Dr. Annor made the announcement when he was addressing a meeting with 258 members of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Council of Labour during a one-day working visit to the region.
It was part of his nationwide duty tour to interact with organised labour and other relevant stakeholders to solicit their views and support to strategically position the NHIA to effectively and efficiently deliver on its mandate.
The CEO and some sectional heads of the Authority had earlier gone to Bolgatanga and Tamale in the Upper East and Northern Regions, as well as Kumasi and were due to be in Wa in the Upper West Region after Sunyani.
Dr. Annor expressed regret that the NHIA established under National Health Insurance Act 2003, Act 650 should have become financially sustainable now, but after its phase one and two stages, it was becoming unsustainable.
He said that gradually caused a reduction in the membership because whilst it was 11 million in 2015, it dropped to 9.8 million in 2016, but Dr. Annor added with efficiency and dynamism into its operations the membership rose between 10.5 -10.6 million in 2017.
The CEO attributed its unsustainable situation to inadequate income in relation to its expenditure such as operational cost and payments to service providers and revealed that the “Scheme now has zero financial reserve” as against at least six months reserve it should have had now.
Against this background, Dr. Annor announced the Board and Management had identified four strategic ways as solid foundations that, with the commitment of staff, cooperation of stakeholders and support of all Ghanaians could make the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) sustainable.
He mentioned the need to review the Scheme’s “Financing Model” and make it more realistic by widening the sources of fund into the it’s purse and a change from the manual claims to electronic means to quicken the process of submission by Service Providers to ensure fast and prompt payments by the Authority.
On the fourth pillar, Dr. Annor emphasised that the law backing the NHIS must be strengthened to prefer stiffer and more deterrent punishment to those who would misuse, misapply or misappropriate the health insurance funds.
The CEO however stressed that “Ghanaians must depoliticise the NHIS” before the implementation of workable reforms.
He said even if it required legislation to immune the NHIS against all forms of politicisation that must be considered since “one core mission for all Ghanaians is to take politics from the management of the NHIA”.
Dr. Annor was optimistic that when it was depoliticised and the reforms effectively implemented, the NHIS would be sustainable to support quality health service delivery in the country.
Mr. Joshua Ansah, the deputy Secretary-General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in a welcoming address said the primary responsibility of the leadership of organised labour was to seek the welfare of members.
That implied an obligation on the leadership to support efforts to ensure stable health conditions of members because without a healthy population, there would not be a healthy workforce for the nation, he added.
Mr. Ansah therefore lauded the move by the Board and Management of the NHIA and assured that the proposals by TUC national leadership to come out with the appropriate decision.