As the first round of consultations on the National Health Insurance (NHI) concludes, the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has named the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) as the Implementing Agency for the NHI.
This was announced last week by Minister of Implementation with responsibility for NHI, Emmalin Pierre, as she addressed members of the Lower House of Representatives at a sitting at the Trade Centre in Morne Rouge.
“Recognising the need to find an Implementing Agency that is well respected, an Implementing Agency that we believe would not be tied up within the bureaucracy of government, this government has taken a decision and has named the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) as the Implementing Agency for the National Health Insurance (NHI)…”, she told legislators in the one-party dominated House of Representatives.
“…We are very confident that they (NIS) would do an extremely good job that we would be proud of as it relates to implementation,” she said.
According to Minister Pierre a Secretariat has to be set up to facilitate the work needed for the establishment of NHI.
She disclosed that grant funding has been secured for that specific purpose.
“One of the primary task that we are faced with is setting up a Secretariat for the National Health Insurance (NHI) and we want to recognise as the Prime Minister would have alluded to that we’ve been making significant strides as it relates to (the) economy and improving things.
“We also recognise that we have to do the best we can do for ourselves and do not take things for granted and so we’ve gone outside of government seeking funding and was able to receive over $1 million in grants that we can use for the establishment of a Secretariat for the National Health Insurance (NHI)
“…We’re working currently with the NIS and very soon that Secretariat would be available, open for the technical work that has already started. We have been exploring co-operation agreement with various healthcare providers.
The government minister pointed out that consultation on NHI has taken place in every parish inclusive of Carriacou and Petite Martinique.
She said there has been a coming together of stakeholders as they demonstrate their willingness to ensure the successful establishment of NHI.
“We have been engaging not just the Medical and Dental Association, Insurance Companies, Public Health Associations, Trade Union Council, Chamber of Commerce, Employers Federation…”, she said.
“…We’ve been to every parish in Grenada inclusive of Carriacou because we believe while this might be the vision and the dream of this government to provide, we don’t want to make something accessible that people probably don’t even want. So at least the first thing to establish is that the people of Grenada definitely want to have a National Health Insurance (NHI) and the consultation as very clear,” she added.
Minister Pierre pointed out that one of the things that came out of the consultation held was the need for the NHI to become sustainable.
“…We want to make sure that it is sustainable and all of the measures are in place and even at this stage we started the discussion with reinsurers and ensuring that we look at all the possible suspects, all the examples that we can find both regionally and externally that we can look into to see where they go right, where did they go wrong, what are the lessons that we can learn.
“We would have looked at models that would have worked but what are the best practices but in addition to that we’ve even started the process Mr. Speaker of engaging the providers outside of Grenada – organisations, institutions, hospitals that are willing to provide support for this government, that are willing to partner with this government in the implementation of National Health Insurance.
The female government minister stressed that the consultations also revealed that Grenadians do not want a scheme that becomes a burden on citizens.
“This government is very clear that it is not going to introduce a National Health Insurance that becomes financially a burden to the citizens of Grenada and that is why again we have acceded to the call.
“Let us engage technical support and so we have been able to engage the services of an actuary Canadian company that is currently conducting study in Grenada.
“The intention is to be able to come up with the financial cost of that basket of services that we intend to provide so that we can ensure that as a government whether there is need to subsidise, whether there is need to support; that what we are going to do will never become a burden to the average citizen of this country.
The minister said that the intention of NHI is to have every Grenadian whether they are living on the island or not become registered as part the National Health Insurance and access a basket of health services that would be proven to be economical under the scheme.
This, she said will require all registered Grenadians to contribute a sum to the Insurance to ensure its sustainability.