Dr. Delon Brennen, project manager for National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas, met with several heads of department on Abaco to discuss details about NHI at the Office of the Prime Minister on March 15.
According to the NHI Bahamas Web site: “NHI Bahamas will make our health care system more modern, affordable and accessible. The new programme ensures that all legal Bahamian residents – no matter your income, age, island of residence or current health status – can receive health care free of cost at point of service. Cost for health care is paid for in full or in part, by Government.”
In his remarks, Dr. Brennen spoke about NHI as a universal healthcare system, which is being implemented to address the health concerns of all legal residents in The Bahamas.
“The highest rate of death in The Bahamas is due to non-communicable diseases that are not addressed during the most productive years,” he revealed. “We are losing a lot of people because of health-related diseases.”
Another point of emphasis is that NHI will target primary health care services and that each provider will be assigned to a certain number of patients to ensure quality service. Patients will be allowed to select a primary care doctor from the public or private sector and their insurance company from the private sector or NHI Bahamas’s public insurer.
However, there has been a push back from the Private Sector so it is unclear if all will participate with the scheme. In that case the public clinics and government facilities will continue to bear the burden.
Additionally, government facilities will receive a number of upgrades and improvements to assist them in meeting NHI’s standards.
“NHI is changing the economic paradigm in health because private providers can provide services on a regular basis because they are guaranteed payment by the government,” Dr. Brennen assured.
Moving to the question-and-answer segment, there were questions on whether or not insurance premiums would be reduced with the introduction of NHI, questions relating to malpractice, and about the criteria that must be met by providers to become NHI certified.
For additional information, visit http://www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.