By Talatu Maiwada
Abuja – The Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria (HMCAN) has endorsed the proposed amendment of the National Health Insurance Scheme Act 2004, to ensure effective and quality healthcare delivery.
The association made its position known in a memorandum it presented at a public hearing on the repeal of NHIS Act organised by the Senate Committee on Health in Abuja.
The proposal was to effect some major changes in the nomenclature and operations of NHIS to make it more effective as a regulatory body similar to PENCOM, NDIC and NAICOM.
A copy of the HMCAN’s memorandum was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja by the Publicity Secretary of the association, Dr Lekan Ewenla.
It is titled “Memorandum on a Bill for an Act to repeal the National Health Insurance Scheme Act CAP N42, LFN 2004 and to enact the National Health Insurance Commission Bill, 2017 (SB.278)’’.
In the memorandum, the HMCAN said it wants the NHIS to be transformed to National Health Insurance Commission strictly as a regulator with a strong regulatory apparatus to coordinate, monitor and sanction erring Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs).
“For good succession plan and systematic growth of National Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria there should be at least two other directors in the Council of the commission,’’ it said.
While recommending that the appointment of the Director-General of the commission should follow global standard of recruitment of professionals for strategic regulatory bodies, the HMOs said it was not interested to be part of the council’s commission.
However, HMCAN canvassed for the expansion of health insurance to cover majority of Nigerians, adding that HMOs should be given an enabling environment to operate on the concept of Public Private Partnership (PPP).
“That the fund for the public sector social health insurance scheme and other funds that may come from the consolidated revenue or international donors for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and programmes for the vulnerable should be handled by a Board of Trustees (BOT), independent of the commission,’’ it further recommended.
The association advised the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, to provide documentary evidence for all his allegations of sharp practices against the HMOs as a way of strengthening the health insurance operations in the country.
Besides, HMCAN urged the NHIS executive secretary to be guided by existing laws governing the operations of the scheme and stop smearing the integrity of HMOs.