NHIA to extend Capitation Scheme to the North

Sylvester Mensah,CEO, NHISThe National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), is to extend its capitation scheme to the Upper West, Upper East and Volta regions to enhance health care delivery.

Mr. Anthony Gingong, Director of Capitation and Special Projects at NHIA, said the extension of the scheme to the three regions by April, this year, would be 26 months after its piloting in the Ashanti Region.

“The rolling out of the project in the three regions follows the positive results chalked by the project in the Ashanti Region,” Mr. Gingong told journalists yesterday at the opening of a three-day sensitisation workshop for the Regional Managers, District Monitoring and Evaluation, and Public Relations Officers of the NHIA in the three regions.

Capitation is a provider payment method under which providers in the payment system are paid typically in advance, at a pre-determined fixed rate to provide a defined set of services for individuals enrolled onto a specific health provider for a fixed period.

The NHIA, in introducing the payment method in the Ashanti Region in 2012 as a pilot scheme, believe it would improve the quality of care, enhance a healthy provider-patient relationship, and help healthcare facilities under the NHIS to address issues of forecasting and budgeting.

According Mr. Gingong, all the necessary preparatory work to ensure the successful take off of the capitation in the three regions had been carried out, and “we have reached a stage where we are convinced we can roll out the project without experiencing any hitches.”

He said several independent assessors, including Community Partnership for Help and Development, whose research on the capitation was funded by the World Bank, “have all come to the conclusion that capitation is good for the people of Ghana.”

Similarly, he said, the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and other private institutions also conducted reviews on the capitation, and realised about 96 per cent satisfaction rate among the beneficiaries.

As part of the preparation, he said, a series of public awareness programmes had been conducted in the three regions to educate the residents about the concept, adding that the district assemblies had set up committees to help with the implementation of the scheme.

He said under the system, a client could be treated only at where he or she had been registered, noting that the pilot programme revealed that most people sought treatment at health facilities where they had not been registered.

He said a dissatisfied subscriber could change his or her primary health facility after six months.

The three day workshop was to build the capacity of the participants for the rolling out of the project.

Some of the participants, including Charles Agbeve, Ho Municipal Scheme Manager and Ali Kwabalugu, Sisala West Scheme Manager, were confident that the implementation of the scheme in their respective regions would be successful, judging from the intensive preparation.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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