Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Former President of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Kayode Obenbe, has attributed the poor achievements of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), to outright disregard of rules and regulations of the scheme.
He also observed that unending disagreements among some Health Management Organisations (HMOs) and health care providers worsened situation, hence the urgent intervention of NHIS as a regulatory body.
Obenbe, who addressed a meeting of NHIS and HMOs in Abuja, said the operational guidelines of NHIS was explicit on roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the scheme but regrettably, some people choose to violate the rules for unknown reasons.
He challenged NHIS to strengthen its regulatory responsibilities and apply strict sanctions when necessary to either the HMOs, health care providers or any other player that violated the rules of the scheme.
NHIS Executive Secretary, Mohammed Nasir Sambo, in his welcome remarks, informed the HMOs that the essence of the meeting was to freely discuss issues of the scheme as it concerns health care service delivery to Nigerians.
He exposed them to some of the identified challenges and appealed to them to make superior suggestions to the problems of HMOs and health care providers’ misunderstanding and disagreements.
Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by the director of hospital services, Joseph Amodu, called on HMOs and stakeholders to take full advantage of the reforms in NHIS, to discuss issues that have clogged the wheels of NHIS in the past.
He said: “overwhelming percentage of enrollees and health care providers are unhappy with unimpressive performance of HMOs as regards non-remittance of payments to healthcare providers, poor customer service and inaccessibility to enrollees at critical moments of need.
“These anomalies are no longer acceptable, because we are more determined to get it right this time because NHIS is as a strategic tool for effective and efficient healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.”
He urged the HMOs to key into the reforms being championed by NHIS by frankly addressing internal reforms within and among themselves.