In view of the controversy at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), the Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN), the umbrella body for Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) in the country has urged the Federal government to set up panel to investigate the activities of the HMOs.
Speaking on the controversy surrounding the scheme, HMCAN has urged the suspended Executive Secretary (ES) of NHIS to make himself available to answer charges leveled against him, while calling on the government to wade in and put to rest once and for all the allegations.
According to HMCAN chairman, Dr. Tunde Ladele, “it is worthy to note that Prof. Usman Yusuf arrived on his assignment as ES of NHIS with a mindset to undermine the HMOs, demonstrating a level of disposition that still leaves us wondering. It wasn’t long before it was established that the malice was neither professional nor operational but personal.”
He said: “HMOs are private or public incorporated companies registered by the NHIS scheme solely to manage the provision of healthcare services through healthcare facilities accredited by the scheme. “We are investors in the business and cannot just let our investments go to waste. We want the government to invite the HMOs and listen to our own side. We have been to the Council of the NHIS and submitted memoranda.
Commenting on the re-accreditation of HMOs, Ladele said Yusuf had refused to release the report of the re-accreditation exercise to the Council for consideration till date, owing to his “bitterness against HMOs.”
Ladele who lamented the series of charges in recent times between the headship of the scheme and the HMOs, said they HMOs were operating within the ambit of the law, while calling on the leadership of the NHIS to “name and shame those who breached standards or engaged in sharp practices.
“We will not get tired of talking about these things. The NHIS is to regulate and must know what to do about it.” On the issue of re-accreditation, he said it had been done successfully a number of times in the history of the scheme without much pressure and high hurdles such as was set in the latest experience.”
“We consider it a betrayal of leadership inadequacies, poverty of administrative and management skills, weak knowledge of technical issues, gross deficiencies in understanding of corporate governance and a sorry state of inability to relate well with higher authorities by Yusuf.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has finally waded into the matter by ordering the suspended NHIS boss to proceed on an administrative leave immediately. While Ben Omogo, a Director from the Federal Ministry of Health, has been appointed to oversee the scheme.
The NHIS boss has been under investigation for several allegations of fraud, procurement law breaches, abuse of office among others.