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20
Wed, Sep
Graphic Stanbic Executive Breakfast Meeting

NHIS cards to go electronic

Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu (middle) a Deputy Minister of Health, answering questions before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament

The government is to introduce an electronic system that will capture the transactions of all subscribers to the National Health Insurance (NHIS).

The system will also serve as the interface for the exchange of information between service providers and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), phasing out the current paper transactions between the parties.

A Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, and the Chief Executive of the NHIA, Dr Samuel Annor, made these known in Accra yesterday when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

They were at the PAC sitting to answer to queries raised in the 2015 Auditor-General's Report concerning the implementation of the NHIS.

Biometric data

Mr Gyedu said the government was engaged in discussions about the introduction of the electronic system of capturing the biometric data of NHIS subscribers.

He said with the introduction of the electronic system which was being supported by the World Bank, all those who would register under the scheme would have individual health accounts.

He added that the accounts would capture the health records of subscribers and all relevant identifications.

Mr Gyedu said it would then be possible for subscribers to access health care from hospitals, clinics and health centres across the country once their data was accessed with a slot of their cards.

He stated further that the electronic system would do away with quack doctors as every doctor who would attend to a patient would have to enter his or her accreditation number.

Service providers

Dr Annor said some subscribers abused the current manual system of filing their claims.

For instance, he said, some subscribers who offered services in two modules could claim that they offered services in four to five modules.

According to him, the electronic system would capture all transactions electronically, which would eventually eliminate incidents of system cheating.

He said the electronic system of capturing the transaction would dovetail into the electronic system of capturing the biometric data of subscribers.

Arrears

The report indicated that the NHIA could barely meet its short-term financial obligations.

It again revealed that there was significant deficit between growth in expenditure and growth in income of the NHIA.

On arrears, Dr Annor said the NHIA had cleared a greater part of GH¢1.2 arrears owed service providers but was yet to pay the arrears to suppliers.

He said as soon as the authority finished clearing the arrears of service providers, it would start releasing those of suppliers.

Subscribers

Dr Annor said the number of subscribers had gone down as many subscribers who were turned away in some hospitals as a result of the NHIA's indebtedness to them had refused to register with the scheme.

He said the NHIS was in dire need of funds and cautioned that the lack of funds threatened the survival of the scheme.

Dr Annor hinted that the NHIA was engaging the government to increase the funding for the scheme "to avoid a financing gap".

Ghana Civil Aviation

The Minister of Aviation, Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, and directors of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) were at the commission to answer queries raised in the 2015 Auditor General's Report about the Authority.

Mrs Dapaah and the directors indicated that the GCAA was solvent despite some financial commitments.

For instance, they said, the GCAA had started clearing its indebtedness to the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA).

On airports, Mrs Dapaah said the government was considering the possibility of having direct international flights landing and taking off from the Kumasi International Airport as soon as the construction of the terminal was completed.

She said work on the Tamale Airport was complete and it was left with the construction of a new terminal.

The government, she noted, was seeking investment to attach a crew and pilot training school to the Ho Airport.