A team from the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the Ministry of Health has visited the Volta Region to discuss the second phase of the capitation to the region.
The Volta, Upper East and West regions are to benefit from the second phase of the capitation which is already being experimented in the Ashanti Region on a pilot basis.
The team of officials met the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo and his deputy, Mr Francis Ganyaglo, to discuss plans for the implementation of the capitation for the region.
There was so much furore about the capitation in the Ashanti Region with some people claiming that it was a form of discrimination against the region.
However, President John Dramani Mahama explained that the choice was informed by the diversity of the population and facilities in the region of which findings would guide future decisions.
Purpose of meeting
The team members included the Deputy Chief Executive in charge of the operation (NHIA), Mr Nathaniel Otoo, the Project Co-ordinator, Nationwide Capitation roll-out programme, Mr Anthony Gingong, and Director Institutional Care, Ghana Health Service, Dr Samuel Kaba.
The team was in the region purposely to find out how the NHIS was performing in terms of providing quality health services to prepare the ground for the roll out of the biometric membership registration system, as well as to discuss with stakeholders the planned implementation of the capitation in the region.
After the briefing, the Volta Regional Minister said he would work with the team to make the programme a success.
According to him, they would work together with the district chief executives and the various assemblies in the region to educate the people before the full implementation.
Benefit of capitation
The leader of the team, Mr Nathaniel Otoo, explained that capitation was one of the payment methods by NHIA for healthcare service rendered to the members of the insurance scheme.
Its existence, he noted, had a lot of advantages for healthcare providers, the NHIS and its members.
He explained that its implementation would allow health providers to make more money, foster better relationship between patient and doctor, as well as bring about competition among health providers as people could make choices of health services providers they wanted to attend for good services.
Complaints of stakeholders
One of the biggest complaints of stakeholders had been the delay of the issuance of their cards, Mr Otoo said. Some people have had to wait for a month, two months and three months for their cards.
The authority, he disclosed, had brought relief to members by the use of the biometric membership registration system which allowed it to issue cards instantly to somebody who registered.
‘I am happy to say that on a daily basis, we are able to register and issue about 400 cards to members. The next stage of the roll out after Greater Accra is in the Central Region which is starting and very soon would be in the Volta Region”.
Capitation to manage risk in NHIS
The project co-ordinator, Mr Gingong, indicated that the scheme would also help manage the risks in NHIS by sharing the responsibilities evenly.
Capitation, however, would cover 22 per cent of all the services paid under the NHIS, while serious health cases which needed referrals would be catered for under the Ghana Diagnosis Related Grouping (GDRG) payment methods, he stated.
He disclosed that the programme was highly accepted by providers and subscribers in Ashanti Region, an indication that it was a good exercise which needed to be implemented in all the regions.
“Eighty-eight per cent of subscribers and providers we interviewed in the Ashanti Region expressed satisfaction with the implementation of capitation’, Mr Gingong said.