The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) says it is adopting a bio metric registration and auditing of registered persons to ensure transparency and accountability in the scheme.Prof. Usman Yusuf, the Executive Secretary of the scheme, revealed this on Thursday in Abuja.
He spoke at the Health Watch forum organized by the Nigeria Health Watch, an NGO.
According to him, NHIS has expelled 23,000 people not fully registered from the scheme in the past three months.
Yusuf noted that those numbers were infused into the scheme by the Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs) to increase the number of enrollees due to selfish gains, among others.
The scribe revealed that N1,000 was being paid in 23,000 places before the scheme discovered the scam.However, he assured that the scheme would soon commence the bio-metric auditing to further sanitize the system.
Yusuf emphasised that NHIS has the potential to change the life of the populace for the better “be you rich, poor, aged or vulnerable in the society, among others’’, he said.
He expressed displeasure over the limited resources allocated to the scheme.
The executive secretary noted that HMOs are the problem of NHIS, saying that after giving them money three months ahead to pay for enrollees and their families health care services they (HMOs) found it difficult to release such monies to hospitals.
“Our patients ordinarily are supposed to be treated with dignity and respect, but due to failure of HMOs to pay hospitals for services rendered they are been denied such, thereby compounding their health challenges.HMOs have been padding and increasing the number of false enrollees, the basis for what we have been paying them.
The only way to flush this out is through biometric verification. The new ICT team constituted by the scheme in three months has expelled 23,000 ghost enrollees, he said.
“NHIS has been paying N1,000 to 23,000 persons every month which is N23 million; this is your money, my money, it is only through bio metrics we can sanitize the system.We will commence the bio metric capturing as soon as the budget and our ICT department are ready; we are going to get our biometric machines in all hospitals,’’ Yusuf explained.
“My mandate is to make NHIS work for all Nigerians; it is not from Federal Government capital allocation but voluntary contributions by Nigerians and those who pay into the pool.
“I have been handed over to HMOs as CEO, but what do they have to offer, they are the problem of NHIS,’’ he said.
Yusuf noted that over eight months since he assumed office he has been working to rebuild the lost confidence in the system in terms of accountability.
He urged the public to hold leaders accountable in terms of investing in health sector and open to criticism in terms of how such investment are spent.
The executive secretary restated his resolve to deepen accountability, increase coverage of Nigerians in the scheme and exploring more creative ways of financing health system, among others.
“My hope and aspiration is to make NHIS work for all Nigerians. In the past 12 years it has not worked, we have covered only one per cent of all Nigerians but 99 per cent are not covered, we have work to do.
“Each one of us should go home; we have old people, women and children not captured; these are the people the scheme was meant for.
“I want to reach out to big churches, our people, the emirs, Obas, chiefs to tell them what we do and see how we could raise fund, away from government, have creative ways of raising funds,’’ Yusuf said.