The implementation of the capitation payment system under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Volta Region has been described as highly successful.
Out of the 835,148 active members on the scheme, 809,001, representing 96.7 per cent, are said to have selected their primary healthcare providers.
Speaking at a mid-year review meeting in Ho, the Volta Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Elliot Nestor Akototse, said the authority was currently collating and confirming bank details of providers to start the transfer of capitation funds to them.
The capitation concept was introduced in the region about two years ago.
According to him, the successful implementation of the programme was as a result of the maximum co-operation the NHIA received from service providers to ensure that the system worked effectively.
“Capitation has always experienced initial resistance anywhere it is introduced due to suspicions of delay in reimbursement,” he pointed out, and assured them that such a situation would not occur.
He indicated that on the contrary, the payment method which allowed subscribers to choose their health facilities and predetermined fixed per capita rate paid in advance would rather ensure efficiency in the management of resources and also control abuse, including multiple visits to facilities by active members.
According to Mr Akototse, confidence in the scheme was still high, since “healthcare administrators openly admit that 90 per cent or more of their patients receive care on the ticket of the NHIS”.
“The NHIS card is the most valued card in every household in Ghana today,” he added.
He, however, noted that despite the successes, the scheme still faced some challenges in its operations.
“Most of our vehicles are aged and yet to be replaced, making it difficult to visit some remote communities for registration and renewal of membership,” he said.
Additionally, he said: “We have received rampant reports of discrimination and unfair treatment of our NHIS card holders at some service provider points. This unfortunate incident sometimes suggests to our cherished members and the public that the scheme is not functioning.”
The Senior Divisional Chief of Ho-Heve, Togbe Anikpi III, said the introduction of the NHIS was one of the best things that happened to the country, as it provided access to basic health care.
He, however, urged the management of the scheme to ensure that it removed the bottlenecks that affected its smooth operations.