July & August historic months for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas programme

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September 06, 2016

The months of July and August were historic months for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas programme, with the passing of the NHI legislation into law. The NHI Secretariat presented several milestones during the summer months, releasing both the NHI policy paper and the request for proposals (RFP) for the public insurer and wellness provider, and continued engagements with stakeholders and Bahamians throughout the country.

The NHI Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly on August 3rd 2016 and officially passed in both the House of Assembly and the Senate. After being signed by the Governor General in August, it is now the NHI Act. This legislation symbolizes a present and future in which Bahamians have access to modern, affordable and accessible health care. The NHI Bill incorporated changes from the draft Bill which included:

  •     Composition of the board to reflect corporate governance structure
  •     Inclusion of additional responsibilities of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA)
  •     Inclusion of provisions that mandate a collaborative working relationship with the Ministry of Health and Insurance Commission
  •     Expanded provisions on reporting and publishing requirements

On August 10th, the NHI Secretariat also announced the release of the NHI policy paper Building a Healthier Bahamas, which provides the first comprehensive overview of NHI Bahamas, including information on the implementation stages for the programme, eligibility criteria, registration and enrolment requirements, coverage for the primary care phase, funding model and governance structure. The Government of The Bahamas is acting with transparency and by making this important document publicly available.

During a press conference on August 22nd, the NHI Secretariat released the RFP for services relating to the public insurer under the NHI plan. It is the intent of the Government to create a wholly Government-owned, fully licensed insurance company, to manage and administer benefits under NHI Bahamas for its beneficiaries. A bidders’ conference is scheduled for September 8th, 2016.

“Our journey, towards Universal Health Coverage in The Bahamas, is an important one,” affirmed Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance, during the release of the RFP. “And we look forward to stakeholders and the Bahamian public joining us on this historic step towards bringing relief and hope for Bahamians struggling with health problems, and those who want to ensure they stay healthy.”

In addition, the NHI Secretariat continued to engage in conversation with Bahamians with a town hall meeting in Georgetown, Exuma on July 21st. Mr. Deveaux-Isaacs engaged with an audience of around 40 persons, representing a cross section of community members including local government, educators and members of the armed forces. The Government maintains its commitment to informing and speaking with Bahamians across the archipelago as it moves ahead with the implementation of NHI Bahamas.

Summary of speaking engagements, meetings, visits and stakeholder consultations:

Week of July 4th:

  •     Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association
  •     Allied Health
  •     Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation

Week of July 11th:

  •     UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting

Week of July 18th:

  •     Town hall in Georgetown, Exuma
  •     Family Medicine Group at Public Hospitals Authority
  •     Meeting with Providers
  •     UHC Executive Steering Committee meeting
  •     Bahamas Dental Association

Week of July 25th:

  •     Meeting with Providers
  •     Meeting with Department of Public Health Pharmacy
  •     UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting

Week of August 1st:

  •     Doctors’ Union
  •     Family Medicine Department at Public Hospitals Authority
  •     UHC Executive Steering Committee meeting

Week of August 8th:

  •     Working session with senior Bahamian Ministry of Health and the NHI Secretariat, physicians, and senior KPMG Bahamas Advisory staff, including Dr. Mark Britnell and Sir Jonathan Michael
  •    Working group session with physicians
  •     Pediatric Provider Organization
  •     Meeting with representatives from National Prescription Drug Plan, Bahamas National Drug Agency and Sanigest
  •     UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting

Week of August 15th:

  •     Physician Group Working Session
  •     UHC Executive Steering Committee meeting

Week of August 22nd:

  •     Sir Victor Sassoon Bahamas Heart Foundation
  •     The Cancer Society Bahamas
  •     UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting

More information on NHI Bahamas can be found at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

Source: National Health Insurance

News date : 09/06/2016    Category : About Bahamians, Health, Press Releases

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