By A AYayra

The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority,(NHIA) Sylvester Mensah has justified the Authority?s decision to register subscribers using the biometric system, saying it is the surest way to ensure efficiency into claims management nationwide.

Aside this,Mr. Mensah explained that the initiative would also prevent the duplication of client records by service providers and ensure effective verification at the point of healthcare service delivery to block the leakages in the system which has resulted in the scheme losing huge sums of monies through false claims.

Speaking at a press soiree in Accra last week, the NHIA boss explained that ?The reason for this instant issuance of identification cards has been flagged; it is to address the perennial problems of delays in I.D card issuance, we are happy that we have an inefficient I.D card system.?

He said the non-availability of a system to track claims created the avenue for some unscrupulous service providers to milk the Authority of millions of Ghana cedis, stressing that the introduction of the biometric system will block that loophole.

He said the leakages has resulted in the Authority losing huge sums of monies which could have been channeled into other aspects of the operation of the scheme that would ensure equitable and universal access to health care for the citizenry and the reduction inthe mobility rate in Ghana.

Mr. Mensahnoted that the problem of delayed payment of claims to service providers is almost a thing of the past and that clients of the Scheme would not be deprived of receiving quality treatment from service providers with the introduction of the new cards.

Though admitting that the introduction of the biometric system will not entirely address all the challenges of payment of false claims, Mr. Mensah explained that ?to some extent it is a stopgap measure to ensure that we track service providers on the kind of claims they send to the Authority.

?Unlike previously, holders of the new card will be verified at their respective health centers before they are made to access health care? that is a way of preventing service providers from making false claims,? he added.

The NHIA boss added that, the program has been in the pipeline for a while and it is only being piloted to test the efficiency of the system which would be followed by a nationwide scale-up of the exercise.

?We have engaged a number of experts on this project over the years? we had a series of meetings with the authorities of the National Identification Authority, and the purpose of those meetings was to look at whether we could have a common data and the use of a common I.D card, but unfortunately the kind of data we need is different from what the NIA had collected,? Mr. Mensah noted.

The NHIA commenced a pilot project on Monday, June 17, 2013 to register new subscribers and to renew cards for existing subscribers onto the NHIS biometrically.

The pilot exercise is being undertaken in two districts, Ayawaso and La, in the Greater Accra region and is limited to a selected number of personnel from the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Armed Forces only.

Managers of the scheme say the biometric registration exercise comes with instant issuance of NHIS ID cards and it will also help the Authority to clean the membership database by using a biometric solution as a means of preventing duplicate records and implement an effective verification system at the point of healthcare service delivery.

Source: The Al Hajj

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