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Review c’ttee : NHIS must cover CHPS, protect patients

The seven member committee set up to review the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has recommended among other things, the provision of a guaranteed primary healthcare package for all residents of the country.

The guaranteed primary healthcare will ensure that all Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds are accessible to all NHIS card holders.

“Services available at the CHPS compound…which is the first referral to district hospitals will be in this package,” Chairman of the committee, Chris Atim added.

The committee was tasked to propose reforms to ensure the scheme runs efficiently.

Speaking at the first major review of the National Health Insurance Scheme on Tuesday, Chairman of the committee, Chris Atim also called for the establishment of a Patient Protection Council to protect NHIS members and ensure they receive healthcare in dignity.

“Let me emphasis that when we say primary health care is going to be the focus of the scheme, we are talking about the aspiration to have universal coverage for all primary health care. However, because of our financial limitation today, the package that would be available when this will be implemented would be initially limited to what is affordable. NHIS is made up of three parties; there are providers who have their organizations, there is a purchaser who is NHIA which is an agency and then you have the beneficiaries but they have no particular body protecting them in the same way as the other two parties.”

“So you want a patient protection council, to be able to be the voice of the beneficiaries with respect to the other two, especially when they feel that they have issues about the way they are treated by the NHIS,” Mr. Atim added.

Meanwhile, Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah Arthur has also stated that government is not in a position to continuously finance the NHIS but added that it is committed to providing quality healthcare.

“But the government budget is seriously constrained and therefore the easy option for saying that allocate some more money to the NHIS is no longer available to us therefore we must innovate. We seriously need to think about other ways of providing financing so that we can increase the coverage of the National health insurance scheme.”

“Even though as we face this financing constraints, we should not abandon the pursuit of good health for our citizens because it is necessary for sustaining the development of the nation,” he added.

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