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NHIS Review Committee Calls For Inputs   
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Dr. Chris Atim, Chairman of NHIS Review Committee
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The Committee set up by the government to spearhead a holistic review of the NHIS is calling for inputs and proposals from the public on critical areas to be considered for reforms during the review process.

The Chairman of the technical committee, Dr Chris Atim, a renowned health economist, stated on GTV over the weekend that the process of reviewing the current design and structure of the NHIS is one that should interest all Ghanaians. He mentioned that the committee is inviting inputs from the general public, civil society organizations and other interested groups.

In an earlier notification, Dr Atim said the review process presents an “opportunity for all citizens and concerned parties to make suggestions and contributions on how we can resolve the challenges confronting the Scheme, discuss the successes and ways of making improvements as well as make suggestions for a sustainable Scheme.”

According to him, the Scheme has grown over the years from an initial membership of 1.5 million in 2003 to an active membership of 10.5 million as at December 2014 and over 29 million attendances at healthcare facilities were recorded on account of the Scheme in 2014.

Dr Atim observed that in recent times, high and increasing claims costs have placed the scheme under severe financial pressure. This, he mentioned, has contributed to the Scheme’s inability to pay claims in time to healthcare providers for services rendered to NHIS members. He also attributed this in part to an increase in active membership of the scheme as well as an escalation in medical costs, especially the cost of medicines. He also suggested that fraud and moral hazard have played to the disadvantage of the Scheme.

He however commended the 11-year old Scheme for instituting measures in recent times to reduce the occurrence of abuse but said more needs to be done going forward into the future.

The independent technical review committee was set-up by the President and inaugurated by the Health Minister with a view to proposing options for reforming the NHIS. The committee set up in September 2015, has five months to complete its work, although the committee Chair has stated that the setting up of subcommittees to assist the main committee with specific technical inputs was not factored into that initial timeline.

Dr Chris Atim, a senior health economist, played a pioneering role in the pilot stages of health insurance in Ghana. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA). Other committee members include Dr Victor Bampoe, Deputy Health Minister, Dr Obeng Apori, Chief Executive of the Ridge Hospital, Accra and Mr Peter Yeboah, Executive Director of the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). The rest are Prof Irene Agyepong of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Dr Huihui Wang, an Economist with the World Bank and Nathaniel Otoo, acting Chief Executive of the NHIA.

The technical team will present its report to an Advisory Committee made up of both local and international experts, academics, legislators, civil society and provider representatives.

These include Hon Joseph Yieleh Chireh, MP, Hon Dr Richard Anane, MP, Hon Mohammed Muntaka, MP, Hon Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP, Prof Agyemang Badu Akosa, former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Prof Frimpong Boateng, formerly of the Korle bu Teaching Hospital, Hon Nuamah Donkor, a former Health Minister and 11 others.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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