Health Insurance Authority tasked to apply ICT in eliminating fraud

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday challenged the National Health Insurance Authority to step up its technological installations to eliminate fraud and improve on services.

“With just five years left to reach the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) we need to accelerate our process to reduce maternal and infant mortality in the coming months.”

The Vice President made this call when he addressed the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) annual public lecture, in Accra on the theme; “National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)-Opening the policy dialogue for universal coverage.”

He said that the current reports of fraud and other financial malpractices in the scheme could be eliminated if more qualified staff and the right logistics provided at the appropriate time.

Vice President Mahama said government would soon tackle the issue of recruitment into positions of the scheme.

“In many cases, learning from previous example, party cadres believe positions in the National Health Insurance Scheme are political and not based essentially on merit.”

The Vice President said government would consider the suggestion of the GMA to spend part of the oil revenue in strengthening structures of the NHIS, adding “I therefore endorse the suggestion by the GMA president that we must seek new and innovative ways of financing universal access.”

He said government’s commitment to the provision of adequate health facilities was demonstrated through the rehabilitation of the Tamale Regional Teaching Hospital, the cutting of the sod for construction of a new Regional Hospital in Wa in the upper West Region and many other facilities across the country.

Vice President Mahama said the health of Ghanaians was critical to government, hence the decision to come out with the proposed one time premium payment for all beneficiaries.

“This informs our government’s commitment to implement the onetime premium payment for NHIS.Cabinet currently has referred proposals to a sub-committee and as soon as that is completed, it will be tabled for approval.”

Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, Minister of Health, said more control and enforcement mechanisms would be instituted to plug all loop-holes that had resulted in financial leakages in the scheme.

He said technical and management challenges that had been identified would also soon be addressed and called on all stakeholders to collaborate effectively to achieve total success in the scheme.

Dr. Kumbour also called for a radical move to strengthen regulation and ensure improvement in the financial stand of in the scheme to ensure regular and quality health delivery.

Dr. Emmanuel Adom Winful, President of Ghana Medical Association, suggested to the National Health Insurance Authority to build the capacity of its staff as it was considered as a major hurdle for the success of the scheme.

Dr. Winful said most of the staff members were unable to detect the level of fraudulent cases due mainly to lack of capacity and knowledge in the details of the programme.

He said that “we need to provide adequate training for our management staff to be up to the task ahead of them in their various locations.”

Dr. Winful said GMA would continue to play their watch-dog role in the provision of health service by criticizing all health providers and offering suggestions for the achievement of better health service for all Ghanaians.

“We believe that government’s ‘Better Ghana Agenda” needs to be backed by better health for all Ghanaians as we progress annually”, he added.

Source: GNA

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