General News of 2014-01-11

Kufuor goofed on NHIS capitation – NHIA boss

Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Sylvester Mensah has accused Former President John Agyekum Kufuor of being misinformed in his recent remarks on the implementation of capitation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Ashanti Region.

Former President Kufuor, under whose presidency the health insurance scheme was introduced, chided the Authority for discriminating against the people of Ashanti Region with regard to piloting the scheme in the region. It was during an interview on Kessben FM – a Kumasi-based radio station.

But speaking on TV3’s Hot Issues on Saturday, January 11, 2014, Mr Mensah said the Authority has been reticent about Former President Kufuor’s remarks because it considers them as having been spued out of misinformation.

“We just want an opportunity to meet with him personally and have a discussion with him,” he told Kwesi Pratt Jnr, host of the programme.

“I believe that we will make a public statement after we have engaged him and gotten him to understand the direction we have taken and what the implications are,” he added.

“We think that he means well. We think that we owe him a responsibility of explaining to him what the situation is.”

Absurd demand

Mr Mensah pointed out that inasmuch as the Authority acknowledges and respects the former president as the leader under whose watch the Scheme was introduced, the demands of health providers in the Ashanti Region regarding the capitation grant are absurd.

Health providers are demanding “over 400 per cent” increase in capitation per subscriber from the current GH¢2.75 to GH¢12.

According to the NHIA boss, the demand will amount to 54 per cent of the total annual budget of the Authority.

“We think that the demands are really absurd. Perhaps the consultant working for the private providers is completely ignorant of exactly what he wants.”

He described piloting of the capitation in the Ashanti Region as “very successful”, forming a good basis for nationwide take-off this year.

“I think that it was good decision to select Ashanti Region. I think we achieved the purpose. That is what is encouraging us.”

Capitation is the payment of predetermined rate to providers to offer a defined set of services to insurance subscribers within a defined time frame. The moulding blocks is to have subscribers select their preferred hospitals and to pay the per capita rate per advance rather than per arrears.