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National Health Insurance Authority Board Members Announced
National Health Insurance Authority Board Members Announced

Nassau, The Bahamas – July 26th, 2017 — Today, the composition of the Board of Directors of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was announced. The Board has been appointed in accordance with the National Health Insurance Act, 2016. Dr. Robin Roberts has been named Chairman and Mrs. Judy Whitehead has been named Deputy Chairman.

The Board will effectively act as the governing body that performs the functions and exercises the powers of the NHIA and reports to the Minister responsible for National Health Insurance. The Board will oversee and work closely with the NHI Bahamas technical team to review, plan and operationalize the overall strategy and operations of the NHI Bahamas programme.

In addition to the Chair and Vice-chair, the Board, consisting of 12 persons in total, includes the following individuals:

  • Terneille Burrows – Patients and Beneficiaries Representative
  • Leyvon Miller III – Patients and Beneficiaries Representative
  • Barbara Wilson – Allied Health/Nursing Representative
  • Monty Brathwaite – Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Representative
  • Bernard Evans – National Congress of Trade Unions Bahamas Representative
  • Sy C. Pierre – Medical Association of The Bahamas Representative
  • Emmanuel Komolafe – Bahamas Insurance Association Representative

In addition, the Board will consist of Ex Officio members including:

  • Patricia Hermanns – Director of the National Insurance Board
  • Pearl McMillian – Chief Medical Officer (Acting)
  • Michele Fields – Superintendent of the Insurance Commission
  • Melanie Zonicle – Director of Social Services,

While these Ex Officio members will play an important role advising and supporting the work of the Board and the NHIA, they do not have a formal voting position.

Among its various functions, the NHIA will:

  • Implement the plan for NHI Bahamas to facilitate the provision of modern, affordable, and accessible health care services to all eligible Bahamians
  • Establish and implement mechanisms for quality assurance in the delivery of health care and wellness benefits and services under NHI Bahamas
  • Promote improved methods and levels of efficiency in the delivery of health care and wellness benefits and services on the road to Universal Health Coverage in The Bahamas

The establishment of the NHIA Board is a significant milestone for the evolution of NHI Bahamas. The Board will explore, among other decisions, financing mechanisms for NHI Bahamas and the expansion of services beyond primary health care, laying the framework for the provision of catastrophic health coverage for the people of The Bahamas.

 

Since the roll-out of Phase 3 of NHI Bahamas, Primary Health Care services, over 27,000 Bahamians have enrolled in the programme and are eligible to access primary care services with no cost at point of care.

 

The NHIA will continue to provide updates to the public and stakeholders on the progression and potential changes to the programme.

 

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

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 396-8500

 

 

Adjustments to NHI Enrolment Locations on New Providence
Adjustments to NHI Enrolment Locations on New Providence

Nassau, The Bahamas – July 13, 2017 — As NHI Bahamas continues to identify cost savings and efficiencies in an effort to streamline the organization’s operations and budget, it has been determined that the last day to access NHI enrolment services at Cotton Tree Plaza, on Bernard Road, will be Friday July 14th, 2017.

As of Monday July 17th, 2017, Stationary in-person enrolment activities on New Providence will be managed out of the NHI Bahamas Headquarters on East Street and Purpose Way. Customer service representatives will be available to enrol eligible Bahamians for the programme during the hours of 9:00am-5:00pm (Monday-Friday). Recognizing the need for enrolment activities in various communities, regular mobile/popup enrolment activities will continue to occur on a scheduled basis. Please look out for announcements detailing the locations for these in-community enrolments in the near future.

Over 25,000 Bahamians and legal residents have enrolled into the NHI Bahamas programme to date and selected their doctors from the public or private sector. Enrolment continues to remain open for persons who wish to receive physician and laboratory Primary Care services at no cost at point of care.

Residents in the Family Islands can also continue to enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

For the fastest and most convenient option, eligible persons are encouraged to enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs .

Registration for the NIB Smart Card is managed out of the NIB Headquarters and at the Carmichael Road office in New Providence, as well as NIB offices throughout the Family Islands during normal business hours.

 

Contact NHI Bahamas:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 396-8500

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 30 June 2017
Enrolment continues for NHI Bahamas; enrolment locations changing
Enrolment continues for NHI Bahamas; enrolment locations changing

The enrolment phase of NHI Bahamas has seen nearly 25,000 Bahamians and legal residents enrol to date. While enrolment numbers have stabilized, enrolment remains open for persons who wish to select their doctor so they can receive Primary Care services at no cost at point of care.

For the fastest and most convenient option, eligible persons are encouraged to enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

After assessing demand at enrolment centres, it has been determined that the enrolment site of Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road will close permanently as of Monday, July 3rd. Friday June 30th will be the last day of enrolment at this location. However, in-person enrolment will continue to be a quick and seamless process as the enrolment location at Cotton Tree in Fox Hill remains open and the NHI Bahamas building on East St. and Purpose Way will be operating as an enrolment site as of Monday, July 3rd. Customer service representatives will be on-site at both sites to enrol eligible Bahamians in NHI Bahamas.

This decision was made as NHI Bahamas continues to identify cost savings and efficiencies in an effort to streamline the organization’s operations and budget.

As of Monday, July 3rd, Bahamians and legal residents who wish to enrol in-person may do so at the following locations in New Providence:

  • NHI Bahamas, East Street & Purpose Way – 9:00am-5:00pm (Monday-Friday)
  • Cotton Tree Plaza, Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-5:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Residents in the Family Islands can continue to enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

Registration for the NIB Smart Card will continue at NIB Headquarters and at the Carmichael Road office in New Providence, as well as NIB offices throughout the Family Islands during normal business hours.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 26 June 2017
NHI Secretariat Statement: Update on NHI Bahamas
NHI Secretariat Statement: Update on NHI Bahamas

Starting today, NHI Bahamas is implementing changes across the organization as we seek to streamline our operations and budget. Since launching enrolment for NHI Bahamas on April 24th 2017, NHI Bahamas has assessed the level of resources used, and a determination has been made that not all of the organization’s resources are being fully utilized in the most efficient manner.

Enrolment numbers for the program have stabilized. Therefore, a number of positions in NHI Bahamas are no longer required.  While this has been a difficult decision to make, it is a necessary one at this time. There is a need to streamline operations and a reality that NHI Bahamas must continue to phase in health care services in a fiscally responsible manner.

We wish to assure the public that this will not impact enrolment activity or access to available Primary Care benefits. Enrolment in NHI Bahamas is still ongoing and persons who have enrolled in NHI Bahamas and have been matched with a Primary Care Provider continue to have access to Primary Care physician and laboratory services at no cost at point of care.  Persons interested in enrolling can do so online or in-person at your local enrolment office.

While certain changes will be made to NHI Bahamas going forward, the Government of The Bahamas will make decisions that are in the best interests of the Bahamian public at large as the country continues its journey towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Website: www.nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 396-8500

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 22 May 2017
Laboratory services now available under NHI Bahamas
Laboratory services now available under NHI Bahamas

Bahamians and legal residents who have enroled in NHI Bahamas will now be able to access laboratory services as part of their Primary Care benefits. With NHI Bahamas, persons will no longer have to pay for certain lab tests, including some blood tests to check immune function, blood sugar, cholesterol, hormone levels and organ function, as well as blood tests for HIV and blood disorders like sickle cell anemia.

A full listing of laboratory services can be found in the Primary Care benefits package: http://www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Primary-Care-Benefits-Package.pdf

The following lab administrators are now available to provide laboratory services at no cost at point of care under NHI Bahamas:

  • Bahamas Medical Laboratory Services, 1st Terrace Centerville, Nassau
  • Bonaventure Medical Laboratory, East Avenue Centreville, Nassau
  • Executive Family Medical Centre, #65 Mackey Street Plaza, Nassau
  • Premier Clinical Laboratory, #115 Collins Ave, Nassau
  • Integrated Medical Centre, Memorial Plaza, Marsh Harbour, Abaco

“As we transition through the Primary Care services phases of coverage and persons start seeing their selected doctor, additional services such as lab tests being launched today, will become available to patients who have enroled in NHI Bahamas,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager. “I encourage more providers to sign up for NHI Bahamas to ensure Bahamians have a variety of choices when selecting their Primary Care providers for a range of services.”

Registration remains open for laboratory services, as well as all other provider types, including Primary Care physicians, pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services.

Providers interested in signing up for NHI Bahamas can do so online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers. Registration consists of three easy steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

Members of the NHI Secretariat remain available for one-on-one sessions to assist with the registration process. To book a session, contact NHI Bahamas at info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 396-8500

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Nassau, Bahamas - 18 May 2017
Over 15,000 Bahamians enrol in NHI Bahamas to date
Over 15,000 Bahamians enrol in NHI Bahamas to date

Since the launch of the enrolment phase of NHI Bahamas on April 24th, over 15,000 persons have enrolled and over 11,000 beneficiaries have been matched with their selected Primary Care doctor. These numbers are growing every day as enrolment continues across the country and persons are starting to receive Primary Care services in New Providence and across the Family Islands.

As of May 18th, a total of 15,640 enrolment applications have been received and 11,044 persons have been matched with a provider. This means that more than 11,000 Bahamians or legal residents can start seeing their NHI registered Primary Care Provider and receive care at no out of pocket cost to them. Many of these persons have never had a doctor of their own who coordinates their care, nor did they have private health insurance.

“Our team at the NHI Secretariat has heard many stories from Bahamians about how much having access to a doctor – their doctor who they choose during the enrolment process – means to them,” said Permanent Secretary for NHI, Peter Deveaux-Isaacs. “I think a lot of persons take for granted that they can see a doctor when and where they want to. But we need to remember that two-thirds of our population may not have had that option before NHI Bahamas came on board.”

The following data represents a breakdown by age and gender of the enrolment applications that have been received thus far:

  • 62.5% of enrolees are female
  • 37.5% are male
  • 34.3% of enrolees are between the ages of 15-44
  • 31.7% are between the ages of 45-64
  • 18.1% are over 65 years old
  • 13.8% are between the ages of 3-14
  • 2.1% are 2 years old or younger

The enrolment process is ongoing and persons are encouraged to enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza on Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday), 9:00am-5:00pm (Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday), 9:00am-5:00pm (Saturday)

Residents in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

The NHI Secretariat also holds daily popup enrolment sites in an effort to bring enrolment to as many communities as possible. Over the next week, popup enrolment sites will be set up at the following locations:

  • Friday, May 19th from 9:00am-5:00pm – University of The Bahamas, Harry C. Moore Library, Nassau
  • Monday, May 22nd from 9:00am-5:00pm – National Insurance Board Headquarters, Baillou Hill Road, Nassau
  • Tuesday, May 23rd from 8:30am-5:00pm – Mall at Marathon, Nassau
  • Wednesday, May 24th from 9:00am-2:00pm – Grand Bahama Port Authority, Freeport

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process and the list of NHI Bahamas registered physicians.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 4 May 2017
History is made in The Bahamas as first patient receives care under NHI Bahamas
History is made in The Bahamas as first patient receives care under NHI Bahamas

Today, phase three of NHI Bahamas – Primary Health Care Coverage – officially started and was marked by the first patient visiting their doctor and receiving care at no cost at point of service. The launch of Primary Care services is a significant achievement for The Bahamas and will make health care more accessible to the more than 200,000 Bahamians who do not have private health insurance.

“It is a proud day for our country as we move forward in our journey towards making Universal Health Coverage in The Bahamas a reality. For the first time in our country’s history, Bahamians can visit their doctor and receive care without having to pay for it themselves,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance.

The Bahamas has been on a path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for nearly 40 years, since the signing of the Declaration of Alma-Ata at the International Conference on Primary Health Care in 1978. The signing of the Declaration was a turning point in our country’s history as it proclaimed The Bahamas’ commitment to protect and promote the health of all Bahamians. Today, this commitment continues to be carried forward with the launch of the NHI Bahamas Primary Care phase of coverage.

After launching the enrolment phase of NHI Bahamas just last week, over 9,300 persons have enroled and selected their preferred doctor. Physicians who have registered to provide Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas have received payment and are now ready to see patients they are being matched with.

“It is quite an honour to see the first patient under NHI Bahamas, a programme that will help improve accessibility to primary health care services for the many Bahamians who are in need of assistance,” said Dr. Brian Tynes, a general practitioner at Complete Family Practice in Nassau. “I encourage more Bahamians to enrol and take advantage of the services and benefits offered under NHI Bahamas.”

“Keeping up with health care costs is tough, so when I heard about NHI Bahamas I decided to enrol right away. Now I can see my doctor whenever I need to and not worry about how much I will have to pay for each visit,” said Betty May North, the first patient to receive care from Dr. Tynes under NHI Bahamas.

The Primary Care phase of coverage will cover services including, but not limited to:

  • Doctor visits, such as annual physical exams and counseling
  • Screening for various medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), mammograms to screen for breast cancer, prostate testing for men and EKG testing to assess heart function
  • Lab tests
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasounds and x-rays
  • Vaccinations
  • Blood tests to check your cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Various medications, including those that help prevent and treat issues like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, mental illness and allergies

The full Primary Care benefits package can be found online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/whats-covered/.

The NHI Secretariat would also like to remind Bahamians that enrolment for NHI Bahamas is ongoing. Persons are encouraged to enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/enrol or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza at Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday), 9am-5pm (Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday), 9am-5pm (Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – until May 5th – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday)

Persons in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 2 May 2017
NHI Secretariat Launches Pharmacy and Diagnostic Imaging Services Registration
NHI Secretariat Launches Pharmacy and Diagnostic Imaging Services Registration

The NHI Secretariat is continuing Primary Care Provider registration with the launch of pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services registration.

Providers interested in offering pharmacy or diagnostic imaging services under NHI Bahamas can sign up online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers. Registration consists of three easy steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

“As thousands of Bahamians enrol for NHI Bahamas, it is important that we have the continued support of our providers,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance. “In addition to physician visits and laboratory Primary Care services, Bahamians who enrol will be able to access pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services as part of their benefits package.”

Members of the Secretariat are available for one-on-one sessions to assist with the registration process. To book a session, providers can contact NHI Bahamas at info@nhibahamas.gov.bs.

The NHI Secretariat would like to remind Bahamians that enrolment for NHI Bahamas is ongoing. Persons who wish to enrol will need their NIB Smart Card, be either a citizen or a legal resident of The Bahamas and be able to show proof of residency in The Bahamas for the past six months. Enrolment can be completed online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/enrol or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza on Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday), 9am-5pm (Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday), 9am-5pm (Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – until May 5th – 9am-7pm (Monday-Friday)

Persons in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 1 May 2017
Over 6,500 Bahamians enrol for NHI Bahamas in first week
Over 6,500 Bahamians enrol for NHI Bahamas in first week

Over 6,500 Bahamians enroled with NHI Bahamas within the first week of launching the enrolment phase. Since April 24th, thousands of persons have been enroling online and in-person at enrolment locations across The Bahamas. The first group of Bahamians who enroled last week will soon be able to start seeing their doctor to receive Primary Care services at no cost at point of care.

“We have experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from Bahamians since launching enrolment last week. The people have been waiting for NHI Bahamas and we are thrilled to see that so many persons are taking advantage and enroling early to ensure they can start receiving Primary Care benefits as soon as possible,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat.

The enrolment process is ongoing and Bahamians are encouraged to enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza at Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday), 9:00am-5:00pm (Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road – 9:00am 7:00pm (Monday-Friday), 9:00am-5:00pm (Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Residents in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

The NHI Secretariat has also started to setup popup enrolment sites in an effort to bring enrolment to as many communities as possible. The first popup enrolment event was held outside the Mall at Marathon on Saturday, April 29th, during which hundreds of Bahamians came out to enrol. Additional popup sites will be announced shortly.

“The early success of enrolment is reflective of the need for NHI in our country. Many Bahamians do not currently have private insurance and will soon benefit from Primary Care services offered under NHI Bahamas. We expect many more Bahamians to enrol in the coming weeks and look forward to the continued success of this initiative,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 24 April 2017
Launch of enrolment for NHI Bahamas met with excitement among Bahamians
Launch of enrolment for NHI Bahamas met with excitement among Bahamians

Today, enrolment for NHI Bahamas was launched, bringing Bahamians one step closer to receiving Primary Care services at no cost at point of care. During the enrolment phase, Bahamians select their preferred doctor who they will receive Primary Care services from once that phase of coverage begins.

“Today, we celebrate the historic achievement of the first National Health Insurance enrolment. Health care should be for everyone and this is a historic achievement for our country – and most importantly for Bahamian people,” said Prime Minister Perry Christie.

By the end of the first day of opening up enrolment to the public, over 1,000 Bahamians enroled with NHI Bahamas. More persons continue to enrol online and in-person at the enrolment locations across the country.

“We have generated significant enthusiasm for NHI Bahamas across the country among Bahamians who are in need of care, as well as the doctors who have signed up to provide Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat. “As a result, we are confident the enrolment phase will be a success and encourage Bahamians to enrol today.”

In order to enrol, persons will need the following:

  1. NIB Smart Card
  2. Be a Bahamian citizen or legal resident
  3. Proof of residency in The Bahamas for the last 6 months (e.g. utility bill in your name, lease agreement, job letter, etc.)

All eligible Bahamians can enrol with NHI Bahamas, regardless of whether persons already have private insurance or not. For those who do currently have a private insurance plan, they will also need to provide their policy group ID and Member ID number when filling out the enrolment form.

Bahamians can enrol in NHI Bahamas and select their doctor online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza at Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road- 9:00am 7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Persons in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 24 April 2017
NHI Bahamas starts; Bahamians now able to select their Primary Care doctor
NHI Bahamas starts; Bahamians now able to select their Primary Care doctor

Today, enrolment for NHI Bahamas was launched, bringing Bahamians one step closer to receiving Primary Care services at no cost at point of care. During the enrolment phase, Bahamians select their preferred doctor who they will receive Primary Care services from once that phase of coverage begins.

“The launch of enrolment for NHI Bahamas is an exciting development for our country. We’ve had a positive response from the physician community and many have now signed up as Primary Care providers under NHI,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat. “I encourage persons to enrol early so they can have first pick of their preferred doctor who they will soon receive Primary Care services from.”

In order to enrol, persons will need the following:

  1. NIB Smart Card
  2. Be a Bahamian citizen or legal resident
  3. Proof of residency in The Bahamas for the last 6 months (e.g. utility bill in your name, lease agreement, job letter, etc.)

All eligible Bahamians can enrol with NHI Bahamas, regardless of whether persons already have private insurance or not. For those who do currently have a private insurance plan, they will also need to provide their policy group ID and Member ID number when filling out the enrolment form.

For ease and convenience, Bahamians can enrol in NHI Bahamas and select their doctor online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza at Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road- 9:00am 7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Persons in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

“Given the excitement around NHI Bahamas, we anticipate a significant number of persons will enrol early,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager. “We want to make sure the enrolment process is as easy as possible for Bahamians who are looking forward to receiving Primary Care services at no cost at point of care. That’s why we are encouraging Bahamians to skip the line and enrol online.”

The enrolment form will ask persons to fill out their personal information and select their doctor from a list of registered Primary Care providers. Applications will be processed diligently and persons can expect to receive either confirmation of their enrolment and Primary Care provider selection within 10 business days, or be contacted to provide additional documentation. Confirmation notices will also provide the date when each person can start to access Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas. The sooner persons enrol, the sooner they can be confirmed and start receiving services.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 24 April 2017
Backgrounder – Enrolment for NHI Bahamas
Backgrounder – Enrolment for NHI Bahamas

Today, enrolment for NHI Bahamas was launched, bringing Bahamians one step closer to receiving Primary Care services at no cost at point of care. During the enrolment phase, Bahamians select their preferred doctor who they will receive Primary Care services from once that phase of coverage begins.

In order to be eligible to enrol for NHI Bahamas, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. You have been issued an NIB Smart Card
  2. You are either a citizen or a legal resident of The Bahamas
  3. If you are not a Bahamian citizen, to prove your residency you will need to have your work permit listed in the NIB system or bring your residency card or permit to reside
  1. You have been residing in The Bahamas for a period of six months immediately before enrolment
  1. If you make NIB contributions, your proof of residency is checked through your NIB Smart Card
  2. If you do not make NIB contributions, you will need to submit additional documentation

To prove your residency in The Bahamas for the last six months, you need to provide at least one document from the list below:

  • Utility bill in your name (e.g. home phone, gas, electricity, cable)
  • Housing contract (e.g. monthly rental agreements, lease or proof of property ownership)
  • Unemployment assistance documentation
  • RISE programme documentation
  • Designation of The Bahamas as the applicant’s permanent address on all school and/or employment records

For persons who have a private insurance plan, they will also need to provide their policy group ID and Member ID number when filling out the enrolment form.

For ease and convenience, Bahamians can enrol online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, or in-person at the following enrolment locations in New Providence:

  • Cotton Tree Plaza at Bernard Road, Fox Hill – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • Enoch Beckford Memorial Auditorium on Carmichael Road- 9:00am 7:00pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • New Providence Community Centre on Blake Road – 9:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Friday)

Persons in the Family Islands can enrol online or in-person at their local NIB office.

The enrolment form will ask persons to fill out their personal information and select their doctor from a list of registered Primary Care providers. Separate application forms for each child and other legal dependents will need to be submitted.

Persons can expect to receive either confirmation of their enrolment and Primary Care provider selection within 10 business days, or be contacted to provide additional documentation. Confirmation notices will also provide the date when each person can start to access Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 12 April 2017
Enrolment for NHI Bahamas to start April 24th
Enrolment for NHI Bahamas to start April 24th

Following the success of round one of provider registration, the NHI Secretariat is launching phase two of NHI Bahamas – enrolment – on April 24, 2017. During the enrolment phase, Bahamians will select their Primary Care physician, including family medicine practitioners, general practitioners, internists, OBGYNs and pediatricians. Enrolment will be followed shortly after by phase three of NHI Bahamas – Primary Care services.

“Starting April 24th Bahamians will get to choose their doctor who they will receive services from once the Primary Care phase of coverage begins,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat. “We want persons to enrol early so they can start receiving the benefits NHI Bahamas will bring, especially to those who cannot afford health care.”

In order to enrol, persons will need the following:

  1. NIB Smart Card
  2. Be a Bahamian citizen or legal resident
  3. Proof of residency in The Bahamas for the last 6 months (e.g. utility bill in your name, lease agreement, job letter, etc.)

For persons who have private insurance, you will also need to provide your insurance policy group and Member ID number; however persons who do not have private insurance can still enrol for NHI Bahamas.

The Secretariat strongly urges Bahamians to enrol in NHI Bahamas online through www.nhibahamas.gov.bs. However, persons will also have the option to enrol in-person at their nearest enrolment location starting April 24th.

The enrolment form will be available as of April 24th on the NHI Bahamas website and at NHI Bahamas enrolment locations, which will soon be announced. The form will ask persons to fill out their personal information and select their doctor from a list of registered Primary Care providers.

Enrolment forms will be processed and persons can expect to receive either confirmation of their enrolment and Primary Care provider selection within 10 business days, or be contacted to provide additional documentation.

Confirmation notices will also provide the date when each person can access Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas at no cost at point of care.

Persons are encouraged to visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs to ensure they are familiar with the enrolment process.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 10 April 2017
National Health Insurance Secretariat Launches Laboratory Services Registration
National Health Insurance Secretariat Launches Laboratory Services Registration

On Monday, April 10, 2017 the National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat continued Primary Care Provider registration with the launch of laboratory services registration.

Laboratory facilities interested in providing services under NHI Bahamas are invited to sign up online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers. Registration consists of three easy steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

“We were pleased with the positive response from the provider community during the first round of Primary Care Provider registration and are excited to build on that momentum with today’s laboratory facility registration launch,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance. “These positive steps are bringing us closer to modern, affordable and accessible health care for Bahamians.”

Registration for pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services will open next.

Members of the Secretariat are available for a one-on-one session to assist with the registration process. To book a session, contact NHI Bahamas at info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

The NHI Secretariat would like to remind Bahamians who have not already gotten their NIB Smart Card to do so to ensure they are #NHIReady for enrolment, which will begin in April. Details on how and where to enrol for NHI Bahamas will become available shortly.

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The Bahamas - 7 April 2017
Statement from the National Health Insurance Secretariat
Statement from the National Health Insurance Secretariat

The NHI Secretariat wishes to correct the facts around the number of eligible Primary Care Providers in The Bahamas and the establishment of the NHI Authority (NHIA).

There is a claim that providers who have signed on for NHI Bahamas represent less than 10% of doctors on the medical register. Only Primary Care Providers have been invited to register to provide services under NHI Bahamas. There are currently 306 eligible Primary Care Providers in The Bahamas from both the public and private sectors. Over 60 physicians in the private sector have applied with NHI Bahamas, and this number will be further augmented by Primary Care Providers in the public sector, across the country, from the Department of Public Health and Public Hospitals Authority.

As the Act has come into force, the Secretariat expects the list of private sector Primary Care Providers to grow, with providers looking forward to providing health care services to Bahamians. The Secretariat continues to accept applications, even as round one of registration has closed.

Furthermore, the Secretariat wishes to correct the claim that the NHI Authority has been created as a merger of the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Public Hospitals Authority (PHA). The NHIA is an organization established by the NHI Act of 2016 which came into force on April 5, 2017, independently of the aforementioned agencies. The Department of Public Health and Public Hospitals Authority continue to operate individually, under the Ministry of Health. To note, the amalgamation of the DPH and PHA into the Bahamas Health Services Authority is proposed under draft legislation, in order to facilitate better access to health care services and quality of care for Bahamians in the public health sector.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 6 April 2017
NHI Act coming into force
NHI Act coming into force

The National Health Insurance Act came into force, April 5th, 2017. This enables the Minister responsible for NHI, Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, to establish the NHI Authority (NHIA); onboard staff to run the Authority; as well as enable the execution of contracts with Primary Care Providers.

“The establishment of the NHIA highlights the continued commitment to the Bahamian people to make modern, affordable and accessible health care services a reality. Moreover, the legal establishment of the body that will usher in the provision of NHI Bahamas will move our country closer to achieving Universal Health Coverage,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

The NHIA will be extending job offers to Bahamians after completing a robust recruitment process, over the past few months. Offers that are being prepared for an immediate start include, Customer Services Representatives, Finance Officers, Information Technology Staff, Facilities Management, Benefits Management, and Quality Management.

“The Act being brought into force marks another significant milestone for the continued implementation of NHI Bahamas. We know the Bahamian people are eager to enrol, and we too are excited to launch Phase two of Enrolment this month. More details of when and how to enrol will come in short order,” said Permanent Secretary of the NHI Secretariat, Peter Deveaux-Isaacs.

To prepare for Enrolment, Bahamians should be “NHI Ready” and in a position to enrol by selecting their preferred doctor from the public or private sector. With over 60 physicians in the private sector having applied with NHI Bahamas, further augmented by Primary Care Providers in the public sector, across the country, doctors are looking forward to providing Primary Care services to Bahamians.

Phase two of NHI Bahamas – Enrolment of Beneficiaries – will begin this month, and once enrolment has progressed, Phase three – the Primary Care phase will begin, during which legal residents of The Bahamas will be able to receive Primary Care services at no cost at point of care, including the more than 200,000 Bahamians who do not currently have health insurance.

The NHI Secretariat continues to encourage Bahamians who have not already gotten their NIB Smart Card to do so to ensure enrolment goes smoothly.

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Nassau Bahamas - 5 April 2017
Over 60 private physicians apply for NHI Bahamas during round one of Primary Care Provider registration
Over 60 private physicians apply for NHI Bahamas during round one of Primary Care Provider registration

Following round one of Primary Care Provider registration, which closed on March 31st, over 60 physicians in the private sector have applied with NHI Bahamas and are looking forward to providing Primary Care services to Bahamians.

These numbers will be further augmented by Primary Care Providers in the public sector, across the country, from the Department of Public Health and Public Hospitals Authority.

Providers signed up include general practitioners, family medicine specialists, internists, OBGYNs and pediatricians. While this cohort will be among the first group of doctors Bahamians will be able to select when Enrolment starts, registration of Primary Care Providers will remain open as more providers from across the country continue to sign up for NHI Bahamas. Phase two of NHI Bahamas – Enrolment of Beneficiaries – will start in April, and phase three – Primary Care services – will follow shortly thereafter.

Bahamians will be able to select their Primary Care Provider at the time of Phase 2 – Enrolment. Moreover, Bahamians will be able to select a preferred provider from the public or private sector under NHI Bahamas.

“We are pleased with the positive response from the provider community during the first round of Primary Care Provider registration for NHI Bahamas and are looking forward to starting enrolment soon, so Bahamians can start selecting their preferred doctor,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat.

Once enrolment has progressed, the Primary Care phase will begin during which all legal residents of The Bahamas will be able to receive Primary Care services at no cost at point of service, including the more than 200,000 Bahamians who do not currently have health insurance.

The NHI Secretariat continues to encourage Bahamians who have not already gotten their NIB Smart Card to do so to ensure they are ready for enrolment. Details on how and where to enrol for NHI Bahamas will be provided in the coming weeks.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 17 March 2017
NHI Secretariat Updates Checklist Requirements for Primary Care Provider Registration
NHI Secretariat Updates Checklist Requirements for Primary Care Provider Registration

As the NHI Secretariat and Bahamian health care community continue to work towards the launch of Phase Two of NHI Bahamas, Enrolment, the Provider Registration Policy and Facility Checklist are being updated to assist prospective providers in applying for registration to provide Primary Care Services under NHI Bahamas.

The Provider Registration Policy and Facility Checklist, first released on January 31, 2017, now incorporates additional stakeholder feedback to better tailor programme requirements while ensuring high-quality patient outcomes.

In order to be begin the official registration process Provider facilities must:

  • Have submitted a complete and accurate Application for Assessment Form, including required documentation;
  • Possess a current HHCFLB licence as a primary care, diagnostic imaging and/or laboratory services facility; and/or possesses a current Pharmacy Council facility licence;
  • Possess functioning internet connectivity;
  • Properly discards expired medicines; and
  • Properly stores potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals, narcotics and other hazardous materials behind a lock.
  • Be in good standing and compliance with all laws, standards and regulations, including (as applicable):
    • The Medical Act;
    • The Pharmacy Act;
    • Dangerous Drug Act; and
    • The Bahamas Building Code.

The NHI Secretariat is available for one-on-one and group sessions with provider entities and individual physicians to provide hands on support through the registration process.

The provider community is reminded that the first round of Primary Care Provider registration closes on March 31, 2017.

In a NHI Bahamas poll conducted in February 2017, over two-thirds of Bahamians surveyed said they are planning to enrol for Primary Care services once launched, including persons who currently have health insurance. A further 80% of Bahamians agreed that it is important to them that they can select their current doctor when enrolling with NHI Bahamas. 64% of those surveyed said that if their preferred doctor weren’t available at enrolment, they would just choose another. We invite providers to join this important journey towards Universal Health Care.

For more information, or to review the updated policy and facility inspection checklist in their entirety, please visit: www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 28 February 2017
NHI Secretariat Announces Round One Primary Care Provider Registration Closing Date
NHI Secretariat Announces Round One Primary Care Provider Registration Closing Date

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat wishes to inform all Primary Care providers that the closing date for the first round of intake of NHI Bahamas registered providers is March 31 2017.

Since the launch of Primary Care provider registration on January 31st 2017, the Secretariat has conducted extensive one-on-one and group information sessions with interested providers and received multiple application submissions.

Registration for Primary Care Physicians is a critical milestone as we prepare to enter Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas – enrolment. Once enrolment begins, Bahamians from across the country will be selecting their doctor from the public or private sector. To ensure they are on the list for enrolment, Providers are encouraged to register as soon as possible and have first choice in a full patient panel.

Physicians interested in providing Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas can sign up online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers. Registration consists of three simple steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

Members of the NHI Secretariat continue to be available for in-person meetings for providers wishing to learn more about the registration process, fee schedule and the different reimbursement models. Please contact info@nhibahamas.gov.bs to schedule a session. Primary Care Practice economic modelling is also available during these sessions.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 20 February 2017
NHI Secretariat Launches “NHI Benefits” Campaign to Outline Services Covered Under Primary Care Phase of NHI Bahamas
NHI Secretariat Launches “NHI Benefits” Campaign to Outline Services Covered Under Primary Care Phase of NHI Bahamas

On Thursday February 16th, the NHI Secretariat launched the “NHI Benefits” campaign, which educates Bahamians on which services and treatments will be made available under the Primary Care phase of NHI Bahamas. The new campaign aims to increase public awareness of what specific benefits are covered in the Primary Care benefits package, at no cost at point of service to all legal residents of The Bahamas.

Primary Care will cover services including, but not limited to:

  • Doctor visits, such as annual physical exams and counseling
  • Screening for various medical conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), mammograms to screen for breast cancer, prostate testing for men and EKG testing to assess heart function
  • Lab tests
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasounds and x-rays
  • Vaccinations
  • Blood tests to check your cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Various medications, including those that help prevent and treat issues like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, mental illness and allergies

“As we move forward with the implementation of NHI Bahamas, it is important for Bahamians to know what services they can expect to receive once the Primary Care phase begins,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance. “For many Bahamians who do not currently have health insurance, Primary Care will allow them to get treatment and services for a variety of conditions at no cost at point of service, which they would have used to pay for themselves.”

It is estimated that around 200,000 Bahamians do not currently have health insurance, meaning they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets. In fact, an average Bahamian household spends approximately $2,000 per year on health care, a cost that many people can simply not afford. The Primary Care phase of NHI will improve access and affordability of primary health care services for Bahamians, and enable persons to catch health issues when they are most treatable and before they become catastrophic.

Registration for Primary Care physicians is ongoing in preparation for Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas – enrolment – during which Bahamians will be able to select their primary health care physician, from either the public or private sector. Phase 3 – Primary Care services – will follow shortly after.

“The success of NHI Bahamas is dependent on the support of Bahamians and physicians. While we continue to receive positive support from the physician community, Bahamians should encourage their doctors to register for NHI so they can select their preferred provider during enrolment,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

The NHI Secretariat continues to encourage Bahamians who have not already gotten their NIB Smart Card to do so to ensure they are ready for enrolment.

For a full breakdown of services, refer to the Primary Care Benefits Package (Physician Services): http://www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Primary-Care-Benefits-Package.pdf.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 16 February 2017
Backgrounder: Primary Care Benefits Package
Backgrounder: Primary Care Benefits Package

Today, the NHI Secretariat launched the “NHI Benefits” campaign, which educates Bahamians on which services and treatments will be covered under the Primary Care phase of NHI Bahamas

Primary Care covers a wide variety of disease prevention and treatment options. Doctor visits, certain medications, pregnancy care and much more are covered under the benefits package, with no cost at point of care for all legal Bahamian residents.

The initial roll-out phase of NHI Bahamas covers Primary Care services only, but does not include certain services, such as non-primary care specialist, dentist and ophthalmologist/eye care specialist visits. A Primary Care Physician might offer services that are both covered by the primary care benefits package and not. Over time, NHI Bahamas coverage will expand to include additional services, secondary and tertiary, once other health system strengthening activities have advanced and the health care system is ready for full implementation.

The Primary Care benefits package does include the following specific health care services:

Maternity and infants 0-12

Making sure you have comprehensive prenatal care is very important to ensuring that mothers and their babies are healthy. Under the Primary Care Benefits package, pregnant women do not have to pay out of pocket for:

  • Pregnancy tests
  • Pre-natal vitamins
  • Doctor visits
  • Blood tests to learn your blood type and check for any diseases
  • Ultrasounds to check the baby’s growth and find out the sex
  • Screening for genetic defects such as down-syndrome

Once your baby is born, he or she is covered for doctor visits from birth to 12 months. This includes:

  • Tests and measurements at birth
  • Immunizations
  • Regular check ups

Children (ages 12 months – 12 years)

The Primary Care benefits package covers regular doctor visits for children aged 12 months to 12 years for:

  • Growth measurements
  • Hearing and vision measurements
  • Autism screening
  • Monitoring of teeth growth and fluoride to prevent tooth decay
  • Tuberculosis testing
  • Asthma care
  • All required immunizations including: mumps, measles and booster shots

Teenagers (aged 13-18)

Under the NHI Bahamas Primary Care benefits package, teenagers can receive:

  • Annual check ups
  • Counselling on healthy lifestyle choices including: diet and exercise, safe sex and the risks of alcohol and tobacco use
  • Mental health screening
  • Testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
  • Vaccinations

Men

Men have an elevated risk of developing certain illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and prostate disease. The NHI Bahamas Primary Care benefits package takes care of men’s health through:

  • Monitoring and early detection of disease
  • Annual prostate tests for men over the age of 40
  • Medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Counselling on how to reduce risks of diseases like diabetes and alcoholism

Women

Women have unique reproductive health and disease prevention needs. Primary Care services for women include:

  • PAP smears and pelvic examinations
  • Birth control medication and devices
  • HPV vaccine
  • Screening for breast and cervical cancer
  • Hormone therapy for women going through menopause
  • Pregnancy care

Elderly

Adults over 50 receive additional benefits to ensure healthy aging. From medication to disease prevention and management, older Bahamians receive:

  • Medication to control blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and other issues
  • Regular screening for dementia, depression, alcohol misuse and elder abuse

The Primary Care benefits package will also cover treatment for common diseases and illnesses, including the following:

Asthma

Asthma is a concern for persons of all ages. If poorly managed, asthma can result in a lower quality of life. If you think you or your child has asthma, the NHI Bahamas Primary Care benefits package covers:

  • Testing of lung function
  • Lung x-ray
  • EKG of the heart
  • If diagnosed, asthma medications such as inhalers and allergy drugs are included

Cancer and cancer prevention

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death amongst Bahamians. Preventative measures, including regular screening can help identify cancer at the early stages before it becomes more serious. The Primary Care package covers:

  • Specific tests that screen for prostate, breast and cervical cancers
  • Blood tests to assess risks of developing cancer
  • HPV vaccine and high-risk HPV testing for women

Diabetes

Approximately one in four Bahamians have diabetes. Additionally, 80% of Bahamians are overweight, which significantly increases the risk of developing diabetes. The Primary Care benefits package can help persons prevent or manage diabetes through:

  • Diet and exercise counselling
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • At home glucose monitor
  • Management assistance through regular doctor visits
  • Essential medication such as insulin

Hypertension and high cholesterol

Approximately 16% of Bahamians aged 25-64 have high cholesterol and one third have high blood pressure. Primary Care benefits help patients through:

  • Counselling on healthy eating and exercise to lower risk
  • Blood pressure testing and monitoring
  • Blood sugar testing and monitoring
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Analysis of liver and kidney functions
  • EKG to assess heart function

Other services covered under the Primary Care benefits package include doctor visits, labs, diagnostic imaging and medication, as well as mental health treatment:

Doctor visits

Regular doctor visits are critical to ensuring you remain in good health. With the NHI Bahamas primary care benefits package, regular doctor visits include:

  • Annual physical examination
  • Non-emergency medical care when you are sick

Labs, diagnostic imaging and medication

With NHI Bahamas, legal Bahamian residents no longer have to pay for certain lab tests or diagnostic imaging to find out if they are sick. This includes:

  • Blood tests to check immune function, blood sugar, cholesterol, hormone levels and organ function
  • Blood tests for HIV and blood disorders like sickle cell anemia
  • Mammograms
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Some medication provided at no cost

Mental health

Too many Bahamians suffer with mental illness in silence. Left untreated, mental illness can negatively impact your quality of life. With the NHI Bahamas Primary Care benefits package you can receive:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of mental illness
  • Counselling
  • Medication such as anti-depressants

For a full breakdown of services, refer to the Primary Care Benefits Package: http://www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Primary-Care-Benefits-Package.pdf.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 31 January 2017
National Health Insurance Secretariat launches Primary Care Physician Registration
National Health Insurance Secretariat launches Primary Care Physician Registration

Today, the National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat marked an important milestone on the road to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) with the launch of Primary Care Provider registration.

With the launch of registration, physicians who are interested in providing Primary Care services under NHI Bahamas can sign up online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/providers. Registration consists of three simple steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

“I am happy to report that many doctors have already expressed their interest to us and are excited to be a part of the successful implementation of NHI Bahamas,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, NHI Secretariat. “I encourage Primary Care Physicians to register under NHI Bahamas and to do so as soon as possible and be part of the history of this country.”

Registration for Primary Care Physicians is a critical milestone as we prepare to enter Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas – enrolment. Once enrolment begins, Bahamians from across the country will be able to select their doctor from the public or private sector. Over the course of the next month, Primary Care registration will expand to include lab, diagnostic imaging and pharmacy services.

“Primary Care Providers will play a key role in shaping a health care system that is modern, affordable and accessible,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager. “The initial discussions we’ve had with Primary Care Physicians have been positive and I’m pleased to say that many of them are looking forward to providing services under NHI Bahamas to patients in need.”

As we move forward with the implementation of NHI Bahamas, the NHI Secretariat continues to encourage all Bahamians to be “NHI Ready” for enrolment by registering for their NIB Smart Card.

All of the hard work being undertaken to make NHI Bahamas a reality for Bahamians in need is fundamental as we continue our journey towards establishing Universal Health Coverage here in The Bahamas.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 30 December 2016
NHI Bahamas 2016 Year in Review : #NHIready for 2017
NHI Bahamas 2016 Year in Review : #NHIready for 2017

2016 was filled with historic milestones for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas programme and with a multitude of activity in the last two months of the year, as the NHI Secretariat prepares for Phase 2: Enrolment in 2017.

The year 2016 has seen tremendous progress in the rollout of NHI Bahamas, starting with the launch of Phase 1, Registration, in January, followed by the passing of the NHI Bill and the release of the Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Public Insurer as significant achievements.

The Secretariat also showed no signs of slowing down in November and December, launching the “NHI Ready” campaign, hosting crucial Primary Care Provider workshops, continuing the consultative process with stakeholders, closing the bids on the RFP relating to the Public Insurer and Wellness Provider, completing the draft Regulations to facilitate the enrolment process, and launching hiring to support the NHI Authority. The “NHI Ready” campaign, which is generating considerable excitement throughout The Bahamas, promotes continued registration and encourages both individuals and Primary Care Providers to prepare for enrolment.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made in 2016 as we get closer each day to  fulfilling our commitment to Bahamians, that is to bring modern, affordable and accessible health care to all, on the road to Universal Health Coverage. There is much more work ahead, but we are excited to continue to work hard to assure the successful, continued rollout of NHI Bahamas in 2017.” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance.

In the New Year, the NHI Secretariat will continue to work and engage productively with Primary Care Providers to ensure they are educated on the process of registering as NHI certified Primary Care Providers in January 2017 and will also continue to support Bahamians to ensure they are ready for enrolment in NHI Bahamas.

As we prepare to welcome 2017, here’s a look back at highlights from the past year:

  • January: Launched Phase 1 of NHI Bahamas, Registration.
  • February: Hosted community meetings across the archipelago and  released the Draft Bill for consultation.
  • April: Continued to travel throughout the country and engage with Bahamians.
  • May: Launched the UHC Advisory Council and the UHC Stakeholder Committee.
  • August: The NHI Act  passed by Parliament and became the NHI Act. The NHI Secretariat released a RFP relating to the Public Insurer under the NHI plan and subsequently held a bidders conference. Three proposals were received from local and international companies and are in the process of evaluation.
  • November: Hiring at the NHI Secretariat began, to further strengthen the team’s mandate to deliver NHI Bahamas to the public.
  • December: Information sessions for Primary Care Providers were held in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco to educate providers on various payment mechanisms and registration with the NHI Bahamas programme.
  • Regular consultations with stakeholder groups, Primary Care Providers and NHI partners were held throughout the year.

Summary of speaking engagements, meetings, and stakeholder consultations for November and December 2016:

Week of November 1st:

  • UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council
  • Follow up meeting to review Primary Care Drug Formulary

Week of November 7th:

  • Meeting of Primary Care Readiness Task Force for Health System Strengthening
  • Insurance Commission of The Bahamas meeting

Week of November 14th:

  • Meeting of Primary Care Readiness Task Force for Health System Strengthening
  • UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council and UHC Executive Steering Committee
  • Law Reform Commission Regulations meeting

Week of November 21st:

  • Meeting of Primary Care Readiness Task Force for Health System Strengthening
  • Distribution of Benefits Package to Diagnostic Imaging working group for feedback
  • Conclusion of the process of receiving bids for the Public Insurer RFP
  • Public Insurer Selection Committee orientation session
  • Insurance Commission of The Bahamas Regulations meeting

Week of November 28th:

  • Physician Working Group to review reimbursement mechanisms

Week of December 5th:

  • Primary Care Provider Information Sessions in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco
  • Public Insurer Selection Committee meeting to review initial proposal findings
  • Law Reform and Insurance Commission of The Bahamas Regulations meetings

Week of December 12th:

  • National Insurance Board, The Department of Social Services, Insurance Commission of The Bahamas Regulations meetings

Week of December 19th:

  • Lab Providers Benefits Package Info Session
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Nassau, The Bahamas - 14 December 2016
NHI Secretariat Launches “NHI Ready” Campaign to Encourage Bahamians to Prepare for Enrolment
NHI Secretariat Launches “NHI Ready” Campaign to Encourage Bahamians to Prepare for Enrolment

Announces Primary Care Physician Provider Registration to Begin January 2017

Today, the NHI Secretariat launched the “NHI Ready” campaign, which promotes continued registration and encourages Bahamians to prepare for Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas: enrolment. It is in this phase when Bahamians can choose their primary care doctor from a list of registered and certified primary care physician providers, from the public or private sector.

The secretariat also announced that physician registration begins in January 2017, marking a critical milestone in the implementation timeline of NHI Bahamas. Once the registration process for physicians is well underway, Phase 2 of enrolment will begin for NHI Bahamas. Primary Care services – phase 3 – will follow closely thereafter.

“We have made great strides this year all leading up to the start of the next phase in bringing modern, affordable and accessible health care for all Bahamians and we want everyone to be NHI Ready in 2017,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat. “The most important prerequisite to being NHI Ready for enrolment is to have your NIB Smart Card.”

To date, more than 240,000 Bahamians have their Smart Card and are NHI Ready. However, there remains approximately 100,000 Bahamians who do not have their card yet, but there is still time. That is why the Secretariat has launched the NHI Ready campaign, to ensure all Bahamians are prepared for when enrolment begins and they are able to choose their doctor and receive primary health care services free of cost at point of care.

“The same way we are encouraging legal Bahamian residents to be NHI Ready for enrolment, we also encourage primary health care providers to be NHI Ready, and ensure they are educated on the process of becoming a NHI Bahamas certified provider,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

Last week, the NHI Secretariat hosted information sessions in Nassau, Grand Bahama and Abaco with primary care physicians. Feedback from physicians has been positive and many are excited to register and provide services to Bahamians in need under NHI Bahamas. In fact, through an exit survey taken by physicians at the end of last week’s information sessions, more than 60% of physicians who attended indicated they plan to sign on as providers under NHI Bahamas when registration begins in January 2017.

The information sessions focused on presenting the various payment mechanisms – including fee-for-service and capitation models – to primary care providers, as well as providing them information on how to sign up as a registered and certified primary care physician provider under the NHI Bahamas plan in January.

The reimbursement model has been designed according to what The Bahamas can afford as a country and is in alignment with international best practices. In addition, the quality of care for patients has been at the centre of focus during the development of the NHI Bahamas reimbursement model, and a number of controls have been put in place to improve quality of care for all NHI Bahamas beneficiaries, such as setting a maximum limit on the number of patients a full-time physician can have to ensure they spend a sufficient amount of time with each patient. The Government is committed to rolling out NHI Bahamas in a responsible manner, and has consulted extensively with many stakeholders to make sure this is right model and system for The Bahamas.

The NHI Secretariat will continue to support Bahamians to ensure they are NHI Ready. Closer to the start of Phase 2, the Secretariat will be working to educate the public on the specifics and details of what exactly is included in the final NHI Bahamas Primary Care Benefits Package as well as how, when and where to enrol.

All of these activities will bring The Bahamas closer to achieving a health care system that is modern, affordable and accessible.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 8 December 2016
NHI Bahamas hosts Primary Care Physician Information Sessions in Nassau
NHI Bahamas hosts Primary Care Physician Information Sessions in Nassau

The NHI Secretariat held the first two of four in-depth information sessions with Primary Care Physicians on December 6 and 7 in New Providence. The sessions are designed to educate physicians on the various payment mechanisms – including fee-for-service and capitation models – for Primary Care Providers, as well as providing information on how to sign up as a registered provider under the NHI Bahamas plan in January 2017.

Over 200,000 Bahamians currently do not have health insurance, and many of them will be choosing their doctor in the public or the private sector in Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas, Enrolment, which will begin in 2017.

NHI Bahamas will be supported by three reimbursement models: partial capitation, full capitation and fee-for-service (FFS). A capitation rate compensates medical providers on a per enroled patient basis, which is globally regarded as best practice for compensation of physicians, as opposed to a per service basis.

In the full capitation model the Primary Care Provider is fully compensated for physician visits, laboratory tests, drugs, and diagnostic imaging services based on a per enroled patient basis.

With partial capitation, the Primary Care Provider is compensated for the physician services per enroled patient.

The FFS model allows for payment to be made to the medical provider based on each medical service rendered to the patient.

Primary Care Providers were also encouraged to register with the National Health Insurance programme starting in January 2017 in order to provide services to Bahamians under NHI Bahamas.  Registration will consist of three simple steps: a self-assessment, an application and an on-site inspection.

“The initial discussions we’ve had with Primary Care Physicians specializing in Primary Care have been positive and I’m pleased to say that many of them are excited to register and provide services under NHI Bahamas to patients in need. These providers will play a key role in shaping a health care system that is modern, affordable and accessible,” said Dr Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

The two remaining sessions will be held:

  • 8 December – 6:00pm, Pelican Bay Hotel, Freeport, Grand Bahama
  • 8 December – 6:00pm, Island Administrator’s office, Marsh Harbour, Abaco

Primary Care Providers are encouraged to attend and ensure they are educated on the payment mechanisms under NHI Bahamas as well as knowledgeable about how to become a registered and certified provider as Bahamians prepare to choose their doctor in 2017.

To RSVP to an information session please email info@nhibahamas.gov.bs.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 29 November 2016
NHI Secretariat To Host Sessions On Provider Reimbursement and Registration
NHI Secretariat To Host Sessions On Provider Reimbursement and Registration

December 6th to 8th, the National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat will achieve an important milestone, as it hosts a series of information sessions with Primary Care Physicians on the Primary Health Care Benefits Package, Provider Reimbursement Mechanisms & Fee Schedule and Provider Registration Process, as our country prepares for Phase 2 of NHI Bahamas – enrolment.

These series of meetings will occur with primary care physicians on the islands of New Providence (Dec 6-7th), Grand Bahama (Dec 8th), and Abaco (Dec 8th).

During the past few months, the NHI Secretariat has met with a number of physicians and other representatives of the medical community in The Bahamas, to define and finalize portions of the Primary Health Care benefits package for NHI Bahamas.

The purpose of these consultations was to present a forum for physicians to discuss the current clinical practices in The Bahamas, the standards recommended by leading international medical bodies, and the proposed standards for delivery of care through NHI Bahamas going forward.

The information sessions next week will serve as structured events to engage with the wider primary care physician community, on services that will be offered through NHI Bahamas, reimbursement models (including fee-for-service and capitation models) and to facilitate provider participation in the NHI Bahamas plan.

“We are aware that many providers are excited to register and provide services to the Bahamian people under NHI Bahamas. They will play a key role in shaping a health care system that is modern, affordable and accessible.” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.”

A number of principles were used to develop the reimbursement structure for NHI Bahamas to support the benefits package and ensure that physicians receive compensation that is fair, simple, evidence-based, dynamic and offers choice to providers.

The NHI Secretariat is confident that it has achieved the right balance in developing reimbursement models that are in line with the Government’s commitment to fund the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas at a cost of $100 million per year.

With these provider information sessions occurring next week, the Bahamian people are now one step closer to being able to select their preferred primary health care providers – in the public or private sector – and becoming recipients of benefits under NHI Bahamas. In order to participate in this process, the NHI Secretariat encourages members of the public to be sure to register for your new NIB smart card and stay tuned for more information on how to prepare for enrolment in the new year.

Click here for more information.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 28 November 2016
NHI Secretariat Statement
NHI Secretariat Statement

In regards to recent concerns raised by the Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) pertaining to the RFP process for the Public Insurer, the NHI Secretariat would like to reiterate the importance of the timely roll-out of NHI Bahamas.

As it stands, approximately 200,000 Bahamians do not have health insurance. Many of these persons are opting out of visiting the doctor when they feel sick due to concerns around not being able to afford the treatment they need. With NHI Bahamas, these Bahamians in need, and in fact all eligible persons, will be able to get modern, affordable and accessible health care services.

With regards to the RFP process, it should be noted that the deadline for submitting bids was extended twice due to the requests from potential bidders for more time and due to the passing of Hurricane Matthew. Organizations had access to a data room with key documents, FAQs, the ability to submit questions and receive timely answers, and almost three months to prepare responses. Therefore, we believe this was sufficient time to submit proposals. Interested parties had from August 22nd to November 21st to complete their bids.

To this end, we received three proposals from local and international companies. The RFP review committee met last week and has begun to review proposals. The committee will evaluate and eventually select the preferred bidder as quickly as possible for Cabinet consideration.

Any further delay of the deadline for bid submission could impact our implementation timelines and cause potential delays for the upcoming enrolment phase of NHI Bahamas, and subsequent roll-out of Primary Care services. This means Bahamians in need would have to wait longer before they can start to receive essential health care services.

The NHI Secretariat will continue to work closely with our public and private sector stakeholders as we move forward with the implementation of NHI Bahamas.

Furthermore, the NHI Secretariat will be holding a press conference next month to give a comprehensive update on progress and timelines.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 23 November 2016
Competitive Bids Received for RFP Related to Public Insurer
Competitive Bids Received for RFP Related to Public Insurer

The Government of The Bahamas has officially concluded the process of receiving bids for the public insurer related to National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas.

This important milestone brings our nation one step closer to creating a wholly Government-owned, fully licensed insurance company, to manage and administer benefits under the NHI Bahamas plan for its beneficiaries, the Bahamian people.

“At the deadline, November 21st, 2016, three proposals were received from local and international companies interested in being part of our journey towards a modern, affordable and accessible health system,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary with responsibility for the National Health Insurance Secretariat.

PS Deveaux-Isaacs, will serve as Chairman of the RFP review committee, comprised of public and private sector individuals, and outlined the next steps for this process:

“The RFP review committee is meeting on Wednesday, November 23rd to review responsibilities and open the official bids. Following this meeting, the committee will evaluate and eventually select the preferred proposal as expeditiously as possible for Cabinet consideration,” he stated.

A single contract will be awarded through this RFP process relating to the Public Insurer. For this contract, the Government is seeking an experienced provider to provide third party management, administration and wellness services for beneficiaries and health providers registered with the Insurer. Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, claims and case management; health risk management; provision of data security; communications with NHI beneficiaries and health care providers; the creation, implementation and monitoring of a wellness program; and the fiduciary management of NHI funds.

The NHI Secretariat encourages members of the public – as we prepare for phase 2 of NHI Bahamas implementation, enrolment (the selection of your doctor in the public or private sector) – to be sure to register for your new NIB smart card. To follow our progress on the implementation of NHI Bahamas, please visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 21 November 2016
NHI Secretariat Summary of Activities – September and October 2016
NHI Secretariat Summary of Activities – September and October 2016

The NHI Secretariat conducted extensive consultations throughout the months of September and October. In spite of challenges posed by the passage of Hurricane Matthew in The Bahamas, the NHI Secretariat stayed productive, charging ahead with job postings for several positions and hosting a successful bidders conference for the request for proposal (RFP) for the establishment of a Public Insurer. Consultations during September and October included: meetings with stakeholder groups, as well as discussions with Government officials, primary care providers, physicians and other NHI partners.

All of the feedback collected to date is being taken under consideration as the NHI Secretariat moves forward in preparing for the rollout of the Primary Care phase of NHI Bahamas.

UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meetings

The UHC Stakeholder Advisory council met on the following dates:

  • September 8
  • September 22
  • October 22

UHC Executive Steering Committee meetings

The UHC Executive Steering Committee met on the following dates:

  • September 15
  • September 29

Public Insurer Bidder’s Conference

The NHI Secretariat presented to prospective bidders for the Public Insurer RFP the week of September 4-10:

  • Public Insurer Bidder’s Conference

Stakeholder Consultations

Consultations were conducted with the following stakeholder groups in September and October:

Week of September 1-3:

  • Primary Health Care Benefits Package Workshop with Primary Health Care Providers

Week of September 4-10:

  • Primary Health Care Benefits Package Workshop with Primary Health Care Providers

Week of September 11-17:

  • NHI Partners Workshop
  • Primary Health Care Benefits Workshop with Pediatric Providers

Week of October 23-29:

  • Laboratory Benefits Package Workshop with Primary Health Care Providers and Lab Providers
  • Pharmacy Benefits Package Workshop with Primary Health Care Providers and Pharmacists

Working Group Sessions

Week of September 18-24:

  • NHI Regulations Working Group Orientation Session with representatives from the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas (ICB), National Insurance Board (NIB), Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) and Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA)

Week of September 25-30:

  • NHI Regulations Working Group Presentation to ICB, NIB, BIBA and BIA
  • NHI Regulations Working Group Orientation Session on Primary Care Providers with representatives from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Department of Public Health (DPH), Bahamas Association of Primary Care Providers (BAPCP), Allied Health, Patient Rep, Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities Licensing Board (HCFLB) and Lab Representatives

Week of October 16-22:

  • Regulated Health Administrator (RHA) Working Group Session with ICB, NIB, BIBA and BIA
  • NHI Regulations Update Meeting on Primary Health Providers with representatives from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Department of Public Health (DPH), Department of Immigration, Bahamas Association of Primary Care Providers (BAPCP), Health Profession’s Council (HPC), Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association (BPA), Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists (BAP), Bahamas Association of Medical Technologists (BAMT) and Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities Licensing Board (HCFLB)

Week of October 23-29:

  • Regulated Health Administrator (RHA) Working Group Session with ICB, NIB, BIBA and BIA
  • NHI Regulations Update Meeting on Primary Health Providers with representatives from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Department of Public Health (DPH), Department of Immigration, Bahamas Association of Primary Care Providers (BAPCP), Health Profession’s Council (HPC), Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association (BPA), Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists (BAP), Bahamas Association of Medical Technologists (BAMT) and Hospitals & Healthcare Facilities Licensing Board (HCFLB)

In the interest of obtaining comprehensive feedback from as many stakeholder groups as possible, consultations and speaking engagements will continue to be held in Nassau and across the Family Islands as progress is made towards the implementation of NHI Bahamas.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 2 November 2016
NHI Bahamas is Hiring
NHI Bahamas is Hiring

The NHI Secretariat has started the initial hiring process for individuals, as we prepare for phase two of NHI Bahamas, enrolment.

The NHIA is in the process of being established to enable the provision of quality health care services to all eligible persons under NHI Bahamas.

The Secretariat is seeking qualified candidates to join this exciting new organization and be part of the team making modern, affordable and accessible health care a reality for all legal Bahamian residents. Approximately 30 positions in administrative and clerical, professional and technical, and management roles will be filled in the next three to five months.

The Secretariat is currently advertising to hire five persons in the first round of recruitment. All of the vacancies require individuals who are results and action-oriented and are accustomed to working in a fast paced, collaborative environment. Strong communication and computer skills are a must.

Recruits will be hired to work in the areas of Finance and Accounting, Legal, Policy, Human Resources, Facilities, Information and Communications Technology and Health Benefits.

Persons of high integrity and who conduct themselves in a manner that supports the values of respect and diversity are encouraged to apply. 

More information on NHI Bahamas, as well as full job descriptions and instructions on how to apply can be found at http://www.nhibahamas.gov.bs/careers/.

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 6 September 2016
Statement from the National Health Insurance Secretariat
Statement from the National Health Insurance Secretariat

Regarding the editorial printed on September 5th, 2016 in the Nassau Guardian, the NHI Secretariat wishes to highlight the facts around the roles and responsibility of the public insurer with the NHI Bahamas plan:

  1. All regulated health administrators (RHAs), including the public insurer, will be subject to the same legal and regulatory requirements set forward by the Insurance Commission of The Bahamas, as outlined in in Section 2 of the National Health Insurance Act 2016, Section 1.3.2 and 1.3.3 of the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Public Insurer and Section 198a and 198b (1) of the Draft Insurance Amendment Bill 2016.

The claim that the Government would serve as both administrator and compliance officer for the public insurer and that the public insurer would not fall under the oversight of the commission that is responsible for regulating the industry is factually incorrect.

  1. The public insurer is to be wholly Government owned, but privately managed to drive a more cost-effective, efficient, fair and accountable universal health coverage (UHC) model. This is consistent with global benchmarks in health financing and UHC models.

This model would enable best practices found in the private sector to assist in the monitoring and reduction of medical fraud risk management.

  1. There are mitigation mechanisms outlined in the NHI Act 2016 to reduce risk for medical fraud. This includes the duty of every RHA and medical provider to submit reports (Section 30), routine inspections of health care providers (Section 36), strict fines/penalties (Section 40) and termination of RHA and medical provider agreements for producing any false declarations or failing to submit reports on services rendered under NHI Bahamas (Sections 31).
  1. The proposed payment models for health care providers, capitation or fee for service, are designed to ensure reimbursements on procedures must be within costs (medical providers cannot over charge for services).

The public insurer, other RHAs and health care providers signed on to provide NHI Bahamas benefits, must agree to a fee schedule set forward by the National Health Insurance Authority. Additionally, patients utilizing health care providers under the NHI Bahamas plan are not expected to exchange money for health care services.

NHI Bahamas is founded on the principles of equity and ensuring that all eligible persons will have access to a modern, affordable and accessible health care system without payment required at point of service. We encourage all eligible persons to register for your NIB Smart Card, as we will soon be transitioning to phase two of NHI Bahamas, enrolment.

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 5 September 2016
NHI Bahamas Activity July & August 2016: History in the Making
NHI Bahamas Activity July & August 2016: History in the Making

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
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Nassau, The Bahamas - 22 August 2016
RFP Issued for Services Relating to the Public Insurer for NHI Bahamas
RFP Issued for Services Relating to the Public Insurer for NHI Bahamas

Government taking steps to establish Public Insurer to manage and administer benefits under NHI Bahamas

Today, on the heels of the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill being passed by Parliament and signed into law by the Governor General, the Government of The Bahamas issued a request for proposal (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 the NHI plan for its beneficiaries.

A single contract will be awarded through this RFP process relating to the Public Insurer. For this contract, the Government is seeking an experienced provider to provide third party management, administration and wellness services for beneficiaries and health providers registered with the Insurer. Responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, claims and case management; health risk management; provision of data security; communications with NHI beneficiaries and health care providers; the creation, implementation and monitoring of a wellness program; and the fiduciary management of NHI funds.

Proposals from interested and qualified bidders must be submitted by October 7, 2016. After reviewing submissions, it is anticipated that a contract will be awarded and finalized by the end of November, with the Public Insurer launched by the end of 2016.

“As the Government continues to work towards reforming our health sector, the establishment of a wholly Government-owned insurance company to manage and administer benefits will be a crucial step in making modern, affordable and accessible health care services a reality for Bahamians,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary, National Health Insurance Secretariat. “At the same time, the Government is continuing to work on regulations for NHI, and is taking the time necessary to ensure appropriate stakeholder involvement in this process.”

The RFP describes in detail the services being sought, the submittal requirements, and the evaluation process. Interested bidders can access the RFP at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs and are encouraged to register early.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 22 August 2016
Speech: Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for NHI Secretariat
Speech: Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for NHI Secretariat

This past week has been a momentous one for our country, celebrating victories here at home and abroad. As our athletes return home with medals and memories, our country has taken firm steps towards implementing a gold medal standard for the provision and access of health care for our people in the form of National Health Insurance.

 

On Monday August 15th, we observed Parliamentarians take the historic step in the passage of the National Health Insurance Bill 2016 in the House of Assembly. Then in the Upper Chamber, on Thursday August 18th, Senators unanimously passed the NHI Bill.

And now today, I can happily say that the NHI Bill has been sent to the Governor-General for the Assent. After which it will be gazetted as the National Insurance Act 2016. The NHI Bill, the Policy Document “Building a Healthier Bahamas,” are two important planks in the legislative and policy framework of NHI.

What a tremendous milestone on our journey towards Universal Health Care for Bahamians. And now, it is my privilege to present another milestone.. the Public Insurer RFP .

Today, The Government of The Bahamas will issue a request for proposal (RFP) for services relating to the Public Insurer under the NHI Bahamas plan. It is the intent of the Government to create a wholly Government-owned, fully licenced insurance company, to manage and administer benefits under the NHI plan for its beneficiaries.

A single contract will be awarded through this RFP process relating to Public Insurer. The Government is seeking an experienced provider to provide third party management, administration and wellness services for beneficiaries and health providers registered with the Insurer.

Why is it so important to have a public insurer under the NHI Bahamas plan?

Including a public insurer is the best option for The Bahamas because a well-managed public insurer will drive a more cost-effective, efficient, fair, and accountable UHC model. The vast majority of funding models for UHC around the world involve either a single payer model – like Canada – where there is a sole public insurer dominantly involved in the NHI programme, or a multi-payer model – like Germany – reflecting the participation of both public and private insurers in the NHI model. There are few jurisdictions where the payers are solely private entities. Our model is a multi payer which allows for participation in the NHI scheme by existing insurance entities in the country.

Importantly, the Government has recognized the importance of outsourcing the management of the public insurer to a private management company because this model has proven to be more cost effective over the long term. These types of public-private partnerships often allow for more efficient and transparent management.

An example of this type of arrangement can be found in Medicare in the US where private insurers manage the public insurance. The IT solution supporting the National Health Fund in Jamaica also operates in a similar way.

The issuance of this RFP checks off another box as we move closer towards implementing the Primary Care phase of NHI Bahamas. In addition, the wellness component of this RFP will complement the preventative aspect of primary care benefits coverage in the NHI Bahamas plan and shows the Government’s commitment to a healthier Bahamas.

Most importantly, once fully implement NHI Bahamas is expected to help bring approximately 200,000 Bahamians who do not currently have health insurance to a place where they too can access health care free at point of service and with no new tax.

Our journey, towards Universal Health Coverage in The Bahamas, is an important one. 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.

As the Government continues to work towards reforming our health sector, the establishment of a wholly Government-owned insurance company to manage and administer benefits will be a crucial step in making modern, affordable and accessible health care services a reality for Bahamians.

At the same time, the Government is continuing to work on regulations for NHI Bahamas, which are progressing, but we are taking the time necessary to ensure appropriate stakeholder involvement in this process.

NHI Bahamas and the improvement of our health care system is a fundamental priority for the Government and will lead us to a more modern and prosperous Bahamas.

I now introduce to you, Damara Dillett, our NHI In House Legal Consultant, who will speak more the technical aspects of this RFP and what it means for those who wish to engage in the process.

Thank you.

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 15 August 2016
Prime Minister Christie on the NHI Bill
Prime Minister Christie on the NHI Bill

Mr Speaker: The Government of The Bahamas is committed to the implementation of National Health Insurance so that every Bahamian has access to an improved quality of healthcare. NHI is indeed a financing mechanism to bring about Universal Health Care.

Mr Speaker, as the cost of health care continues to rise, we are not seeing a rising level of key indicators of health. Governments around the world are recognizing the importance of direct intervention to improve the health outcomes of their citizens. Many countries are resorting to National Health Insurance. We have crafted a model that we believe suits us best. And in spite of what you hear from some stakeholders we have listened to them.

To the extent, Mr Speaker, of incorporating a multi payer system, to ensure that the insurance industry remains a vibrant industry in our economy. The Government spends more than $100 million a year on private insurance premiums for a rather small percentage of public servants. We have made a decision, however, not to disturb the insurance arrangement that is in place today. So, for example, there is no intention to interrupt the private insurance coverage that the police and other members of the security forces currently enjoys.

Mr Speaker, NHI will allow persons to obtain care without going bankrupt or dying early and will, in addition, allow them to use their savings to invest in their and their family personal and economic development, NHI will improve the ability of health care providers to give the best care as a result of improved resource, and expansion and renovation of healthcare facilities, increase in manpower, primary healthcare specialists services at the community levels in NP and Family

NHI for example, Mr Speaker,  will undeniably allow for mothers to have confidence that when they take their sons and daughters to their selected physician, that they will be able to receive a level of care that will follow the child or any individual from the initial visit to other levels of follow up care.  This continuation of care is critical as we make access to health care affordable and accessible to all Bahamians.

This is no pie in the sky! Whether Members Opposite believe it or not, costs, whether real or perceived, frightens Bahamians from accessing the care they need to stay healthy. NHI is designed to remove the obstacle of costs from accessing health care services.

Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to the visual aid. The chart displays that today when a person accesses health care services there is a cost. These costs are far less in the public system than in the private system. To even get in the door in the private system, the patient is faced with the burden of cost. Just to register and see the doctor can cost you from $75 to more than $250.00.  That does not include the labs, blood work and the diagnostic imaging that is required. At least consultation in the public system right now is free. However when a patient visits with a medical professional and there are required costs associated with laboratory services, imaging and some medications, the burden is placed upon the patient. Today this is the case. There is still a cost for labs, imaging and some medications, not covered under the National Prescription Drug Plan, albeit, far less as in the private sector.

This will no longer be the case with the introduction of National Health Insurance.  National Health Insurance will eliminate that added strain on the individual and cover the costs for these services.  This is a clear distinction between what currently exists and what will happen under National Health Insurance.  Under NHI those costs will be removed, Mr Speaker.  For Primary Health care in this initial phase of NHI. Mr Speaker, there will be absolutely no charge at the point of service.

NHI-PC-Comparison-Chart-_1_-_2_

Under NHI, Mr Speaker,  everyone who enrolls in the NHI Plan, can go to their selected medical doctor, receive services and there is no  question about a fee because the Government is now specifically directing the necessary financial resources for the patient to receive complete care at both public and private facilities.  This is what National Health Insurance Bahamas is all about, access to services in both public and private health care facilities. This would allow persons who lack the ability to pay high private insurance cost to enter care and treatment early, which will result in early detection of potential or actual health problems.

NHI will ensure that Bahamians everywhere who require care “from the cradle to the grave” across the life span” from Inagua to Grand Bahama! Regardless of age! Gender!  Color! Religious or Political affiliation will be guaranteed the right to attain and sustain the best quality of life and contribute to national development. Let’s take a walk with  Barbara through the system of health care today:

Barbara (an average Bahamian) accesses a public health clinic (or hospital) and     must pay a registration fee to see a doctor; this doctor may change every time      she accesses the public health system).

We acknowledge that this fee may be waived in the public system for persons who clearly lack the funds to pay the registration fee.

Barbara, does not have an appointment and may have to wait hours in order to access medical services.

A doctor in the public health system, has to try their best to quickly get up to date on the patient’s (Barbara’s) medical records (which may not all be centralized at that facility).

The doctor examines the patient and informs them that they must receive an X-  ray of their ankle.

Barbara receives a requisition to have all of these tests carried out, along with a prescription to deal with the pain.

Barbara does not have the funds pay for the prescription, diagnostic tests or x-rays. These funds are not waived.

Barbara must find the funds to access these services or neglect getting further care – which may deteriorate into a catastrophic illness.

Private Sector

Barbara accesses a private health clinic (or hospital) and must pay a registration and for every service she is required to get to keep her healthy.

Under NHI

Barbara, a Bahamian enrolled under NHI Bahamas, is able to make an appointment with her primary care doctor (who is responsible and focused on monitoring her health).

Barbara’s primary care doctor can be in the public or private sector, and she is able to see her doctor in a timely fashion.

Barbara’s doctor has more time to focus on her needs and keeping her at the centre of care.

They recognize that she needs an X-ray and to encourage preventative care, notes that it is now time for her to have a mammogram and Pap smear.

Barbara is referred to a radiologist to receive an X-ray (no payment required from her) and doctors (gynecologist?) to receive her Pap smear and mammogram.

Barbara is able to access a pharmacy in the public or private health care system to get her medication.

Her records are centralized with her primary care physician. Barbara gets a call from her PHC provider to review her results and determine any future course of action and encourages the rest of her family to get their annual physicals.

Barbara is receiving thoughtful, consistent people-centre care under NHI and must no longer have to worry about finances being a barrier to her access to care.

We are doing something different – NHI Bahamas is leveling the playing field between public and private health services in The Bahamas.

Another point of critical importance Mr Speaker is air transfer for our Family Island countrymen and women. And again as a cautious reminder to Central Grand Bahama, the philosophy between out two parties cannot be more different. The mother in Mayaguana with a complicated pregnancy, or the father who is experiencing significant breathing issues should not have to depend on MASA or find the money to airlift them to Nassau to get the requisite care under NHI. These services are built into the cost of NHI. You shouldn’t have to die if you live in Acklins and you cannot afford the cost of being airlifted. You have every bit of right to access the services needed to keep you healthy no matter where you live.

Mr Speaker, there is a lot of talk from the Members Opposite about why we have decided to roll our NHI with Primary Health Care. Apart from this being the considered advice our Consultants, based on the recommendations by the World Health Organization, and reiterated by the Pan American Health Organization, Primary Health Care as a first stage makes logical sense and maximizes the use of our scarec resources for long term benefit.  The purpose of primary care coverage is rooted in the following three areas that include promotion, prevention and care.  We will aggressively seek to improve the overall health and well-being of Bahamians by promoting healthy behaviors and creating supportive environments for people to increase control over their health.  Currently, we have Bahamians visiting our medical facilities when there is a health concern and need to see a doctor; however, we are seeking to promote healthy behaviors so that Bahamians better understand the importance of taking care of themselves in partnership with their own selected medical doctor.

There will be no taxes placed upon Bahamians as we introduce primary care coverage. The budget allocation of $100M is being effectively used from our existing healthcare spending investments.  We will be managing these funds more effectively to eliminate waste that is as a result of a system that requires better governance to improve the quality of care available to Bahamians.

The importance of medical services to maintain and improve health is a key tenet of primary health care that will be delivered through National Health Insurance Bahamas.  We must address the common health conditions of Bahamians so as to be able to allow them to live and lead longer and healthier lives. We must drill down on strategic initiatives that will begin to make a dent on our high incidence of diabetes, among the highest in the region, hypertension, infant mortality cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Non Communicable Diseases(NCDs} put a significant burden on our health care system. And for the most part these can be avoided. But if intervention is not early and thorough they can lead to serious secondary and tertiary medical maladies.

The importance of prevention is critical.  The adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is one that resonates with all of us.  While Bahamians utilize our healthcare facilities currently, we must do a better job of taking measures to prevent illness and disease and to better position persons for a healthy future.  The Government of The Bahamas will care for the whole person with a level of care and through access to services that undoubtedly will help all Bahamians to have access to the screenings, counseling and immunizations necessary to lead healthy lives.

Mr Speaker, in his contribution, the Minister of Health described a series of health systems measures that the Government has initiated or about to initiate in anticipation of NHI.

We are moving in earnest to open  and make fully operational the new facilities in Abaco and Exuma. Exuma is already operating 24 hours a day seven days a week. And the full potential of these facilities in Providing care and the quality Of life for our people is yet to be realized.

Once fully operational these polyclinics will provide a wide range of Primary and Primary Specialist services! On site Laboratory, X- ray, Ultra Sound and ECG, In-Patient admission for selected conditions for up to (2) days Once fully opened and operational the new facilities in Abaco and Exuma would allow for selected minor surgical and other specialist services either by telemedicine or in the Facilities on a sustained scheduled basis. With Other islands and cays also benefiting from the services to be provided by these regional polyclinics,  many services will no longer require referral to Princess Margaret Hospital.

Secondly, my Cabinet has recently approved the design of a new Women’s Hospital and a revamping of the Accident and Emergency section of PMH.

In addition

  • We have already hired two additional health educators who are also Laboratory technologists and we are presently reviewing application for an additional 4 Laboratory technologists.
  • We will hire 5 additional radiographer for posting to the Family Islands where x- ray machines are functional.
  • By increasing the number of nutritionists! Health educators! Other allied healthcare providers and new categories of workers to Mount an aggressive health education and disease prevention program.
  • Acquisition is in train for a new mammogram machine for Eleuthera.
  • Acquisition of a new Medical Record System.
  • We are moving towards an enhanced governance structure by reorganizing the health services delivery in the public sector into a Single Governance entity, combining the Public Health Authority and the Department of Public Health toes to ensure efficiency, minimize wastage and better utilized funds.

Mr Speaker I have made a commitment people that they will see a dramatic difference in the delivery of health crew services and the condition of the healthcare infrastructure as we rollout NHI.

CONCLUSION

My Government recognizes that there are some services and medications already available to Bahamians in times of sickness; however, National Health Insurance Bahamas will remove the ambiguity and uncertainty of what individuals will have access to.  National Health Insurance Bahamas will clarify that all legal residents of The Bahamas have access to all primary care services at no cost.

We must not allow ourselves to get lost in the disappointing rhetoric that we are already deliver primary health care coverage at no cost.  Rather, we must look forward to ensuring that every single Bahamian has confidence that they no longer need to choose between addressing their primary care medical needs versus covering other expenses.  Through the implementation of National Health Insurance, the single mother in the Berry Islands can walk into an approved facility to see her doctor regarding a primary care need and know with confidence that she is benefiting from a modern, affordable and accessible health care system.

Notwithstanding our current state of affairs, we must most forward towards health systems strengthening that will position us to create a better state of affairs for all Bahamians.  My Government is committed to health systems strengthening and within the coming months and years we will boldly address the areas of governance structures so that our public clinics and hospitals will have increased efficiency, coordination and cooperation.  We will continue to give attention towards the improvement of our facilities throughout the Family Islands.

Through our adoption and promotion of the People Centred Model, we will ensure that the Bahamian patient is at the core of our services.  With the individual Bahamian at the core, we will promote health education, shared care plans and personal care coaching.  These three areas reflect what we must consistently do to improve the quality of life for Bahamians.

And diseases prevention services .which empower people to make healthier choices which will improve the quality and productivity of their life.

Mr Speaker, my Government is committed to helping Bahamians to live well and to access care while maintaining their dignity. We want to remove the stain of shame from the reality of not having the money to access the care you need to keep you healthy and alive, and from the fear of going bankrupt to access healthcare. Money should not deter you from accessing care Mr Speaker.

Comparisons of cost for various tests and labs

1 – CBC (full red blood test)

DPH – 15.00. Private -$25.00

2.- SMAC25 (full blood chemistry)

DPH- $75.00. Private- $95.00

3. SMAC 12 (more specific and recommended as first test)

DPH- $45.00 – Private- $75.00

4. Electrolyte – specific chemistry

DPH- $30.00 – Private- 58.00

5. Lipids – specific chemistry

DPH–$35.00 Private- $60.00

6.Renal Function – specific Chemistry

DPH- 40.00 – Private-$70.00

7. Liver Function- specific Chemistry

DPH- 45.00 Private- $63.00

8. Blood Glucose- specific Chemistry

Random finger prick $2-300.00

DPH- $7.50 – Private- $20.00

9. VDRL (test for syphilis)

– DPH- $10.00 – Private- $35.00

10.- Blood Grouping.

DPH -$10.00- Private-$53.00

11.Sickle Cell

DPH- $10.00 Private- 25.00

12.HIV

DPH… Free for all pregnant women. Trying to secure formal written policy for all Sexually transmitted infections to be free. $25.00 Private.

13. Urinalysis

DPH- $10.00 Private $25.00

14. Urinalysis Culture

DPH- $25.00 Private $-

15.Direct Coombs Test (for blood rebus compatibility)

DPH- $25.00- Private- $55.00

16. Indirect Coombs Test

DPH- 25.00- Private- $65.00

17. HbA1c blood sugar test to show control over 3 months)

DPH $20.00/ Private-$79.00

18. PSA (prostate)

DPH$35.00- Private- $70.00

19.stool test

DPH $10.00- Private $40.00

 

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 10 August 2016
NHI Bill Debated in Parliament, Policy Paper Released
NHI Bill Debated in Parliament, Policy Paper Released

Today, Parliament began debate on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas Bill, tabled last week in the House of Assembly. The NHI Secretariat has also released the official policy paper for NHI Bahamas.

The policy paper, Building a Healthier Bahamas, 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. By making this important document publicly available, the Government of The Bahamas is acting with transparency and in good faith as it moves ahead with the implementation of NHI Bahamas. It can be found at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

Overall, the policy paper presents a framework for establishing the first modern, planned and comprehensive national health insurance programme for The Bahamas. The paper was developed by the NHI Secretariat and its advisors, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and reflects ongoing consultations with the Bahamian health care community.

“A strong policy framework is integral to the successful implementation of NHI Bahamas,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance. “The NHI Secretariat is pleased to make this policy paper available to the public, as we firmly believe that transparency is key when implementing a programme of such national importance.”

The NHI Bill reflects changes made to the draft Bill following months of extensive consultations with stakeholders, which were considered a matter of priority for the Government of The Bahamas, ensuring there was an opportunity for the views and input of the stakeholder community to provide feedback and recommendations.

In the spirit of full transparency, individual stakeholder feedback, recommendations and a comprehensive table of changes to the draft Bill were made public by the NHI Secretariat and published on the NHI website.

The tabled NHI Bill addresses stakeholder concerns around the powers of the Minister and confidentiality with the following:

  • Expansion of reporting duties of the Minister and Authority to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • The powers extended to the Minister and the rigorous reporting responsibilities mandated in this Bill are to ensure accountability and transparency.
  • While the Minister can act in the interest of the public to ensure that objectives of the Act are fully met, this power is tied to specific conditions.
  • The power to require information is designed to ensure the NHIA is in a position to audit, generally and specifically, against risks such as fraud and ensure quality.
  • Harsh penalties have been created to penalize acts and actions that are designed to tamper with and prevent beneficiaries right to privacy (i.e. any person who does not treat personal information as secret and confidential will be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both.)

The debate on the NHI Bill and the release of the NHI policy paper marks another significant milestone in the Government’s efforts to bring modern, affordable and accessible health care services to The Bahamas.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 3 August 2016
Backgrounder: NHI Bill
Backgrounder: NHI Bill

Today, the National Health Insurance Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly. Following months of consultations with stakeholder groups, the insights and expertise of relevant groups were taken into consideration as amendments were made to the initial draft of the legislation.

During stakeholder consultations, the following concerns relating to the NHI Bill were raised:

  1. Ministerial Responsibility
  2. Composition of the Board
  3. Exclusion of the Intermediary Insurance Market
  4. Powers of Inspectors
  5. Data/Information Sharing
  6. Inadequate Universal Health Coverage Provisions

Based on feedback that was collected during the consultation period, the following changes to the draft Bill were made:

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

The NHI Bill has been published online at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs and is accessible to all interested persons who may wish to read the legislation in its entirety.

As evidenced by the tabling of the NHI Bill, the Government of The Bahamas is making significant progress in its efforts to bring modern, affordable and accessible health care services to The Bahamas.

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Nassau, the Bahamas - 3 August 2016
NHI Bill Tabled
NHI Bill Tabled

Today, the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez, Minister of Health tabled the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

After months of consultations with stakeholder groups, the Government of The Bahamas has heard the insights and opinions of relevant parties, enabling them to improve the initial draft of the legislation. During this period, stakeholders shared their expertise and provided important feedback, which have been taken under advisement.

Based on the feedback received from stakeholders, the following changes to the draft Bill were made:

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

For a detailed description of the specific changes, a table has been made available that outlines the changes made to the Bill since the release of the draft on the NHI Bahamas website, www.nhibahamas.gov.bs. The full Bill has also been published online and is accessible to all interested persons.

“This is indeed a sentinel moment for the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that comes at a pivotal time in the history of The Bahamas as we implement National Health Insurance, thereby providing our citizens with accessible, equitable and high quality health care – one of the most significant objectives of my Government” said Minister Gomez.

Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance, Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, has also been an instrumental figure throughout the numerous consultations. As progress is made with regards to the implementation of NHI Bahamas, Deveaux-Isaacs reminded Bahamians that “In order to successfully implement NHI Bahamas, the Government is rolling out primary care first. Primary care is universally viewed as the foundation for a strong, sustainable health care system.”

Deveaux-Isaacs also noted the importance of implementing NHI in responsible manner: “The Government consolidated fund will be used to fund the programme.”

As evidenced by tabling the NHI Bill today, the Government of The Bahamas is making significant progress in its efforts to bring modern, affordable and accessible health care services to The Bahamas.

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 22 July 2016
NHI Secretariat Conducts Successful Townhall in Exuma
NHI Secretariat Conducts Successful Townhall in Exuma

Residents of Exuma excited and energized to participate in NHI Bahamas

The National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat continued with its series of successful of town hall meetings across The Bahamas.

Residents of Georgetown, Exuma (and the surrounding settlements), were next to be informed on the NHI Bahamas plan and continued improvements to the health care system for the successful implementation of NHI Bahamas

Peter Deveaux Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for the NHI Secretariat, visited the island on July 21st, engaging with an audience of around 40 persons, representing a cross section of community members including local government, heads of government departments, educators, members of the armed forces, health care professionals, insurance professionals, fishermen, straw vendors, members of the religious community and private citizens.

The audience was very receptive to the NHI Bahamas presentation and expressed their excitement for this “nation building initiative”. “Persons in this community are ready for NHI Bahamas”, said Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs. “Exuma community members are ready to take control of their health and support the health prevention and health promotion strategies encompassed within the NHI Bahamas plan and empower residents of their community to enjoy healthier lives.”

Persons asked a variety of diverse questions, including how NHI Bahamas will facilitate health services for persons living on the Family Islands, collaboration with government and private stakeholders to improve access to healthier food and healthier environments, funding for NHI Bahamas, and the co-existence of the NHI Bahamas plan with private health insurance plans.

One community member expressed that the NHI Bahamas plan is “a fundamental development issue for The Bahamas. Access to healthcare should not be cost prohibitive. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation and NHI Bahamas will not only benefit myself, but also the future generations in this country.”

This townhall meeting served as a continued commitment by the Government to ensure every Bahamian resident is aware of the NHI Bahamas plan and benefits; along with continued stakeholder engagement that has been on going during the month of July.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 15 July 2016
Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Michael Perry Gomez: Universal Health Coverage Through NHI Can Drive Health and Social Equity
Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Michael Perry Gomez: Universal Health Coverage Through NHI  Can Drive Health and Social Equity

The Minister of Health believes that Universal Health Coverage is an important step towards attaining greater social equity.

 

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through National Health Insurance can be one of the greatest drivers of health equity in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Michael Perry Gomez said Friday.

Addressing a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) High Level Meeting on Health Equity in The Bahamas at the British Colonial Hilton, Dr. Gomez said health equity is an important part of the Government of The Bahamas’ commitment to addressing social injustices and social and health inequities through a series of actions.

“Addressing inequalities in health in The Bahamas is critical to ensuring the equitable distribution of health services within the population as a whole; and my government is committed to ensuring that the health system-strengthening programmes and policies that make a significant improvement in the health and well-being of all citizens and residents of The Bahamas (are in place),” Dr. Gomez said.

Dr. Gomez said equity and equality are important indicators of human development. He said the discussion on Health Equity in The Bahamas that opened Thursday and ended Friday (July 15) at the British Colonial Hilton, was a ‘sentinel moment.’

“Indeed, this sentinel moment also comes at a pivotal time in the history of The Bahamas as we implement National Health Insurance, thereby providing our citizens with accessible, equitable and high quality healthcare – one of the most significant objectives of my government,” Dr. Gomez added.

Dr. Gomez said Universal Health Coverage is one of the most powerful social equalizers among all policy options. He said it is the ultimate expression of fairness.

“If public health has something that can help our troubled, out-of-balance world, it is the growing evidence that well-functioning and inclusive health systems contribute to social cohesion, equity and stability. They hold societies together and help reduce social tensions.”

Health officials say UHC offers financial risk protection that pools funds through tax, other government revenues and/or insurance contributions to spread the financial risks of illness across the population and allow for cross-subsidy from rich to poor and from healthy to ill.

“Universal Health Coverage means that all people can use the preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.”

Dr. Gomez noted health inequities manifest themselves in the unequal way health services are accessed by people from different backgrounds including income levels, race, ethnicity and gender, resulting in inequalities in health outcomes.

“As we move towards strengthening the health system, improving governance in the healthcare sector and achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the implementation of National Health Insurance, it is important to identify the health inequality gaps and gradients that exist across the socio-economic spectrum in The Bahamas and to target policies and inter-sectoral programmes to address health inequities where they exist,” DR. Gomez said.

“To this end, it is also crucial that we benchmark current health equity status and that we track progress over time in order to ensure that all programmes aimed at improving the health outcomes and quality of healthcare in the country are equitable and fair for all residents and citizens of The Bahamas,” Dr. Gomez said.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 8 July 2016
June 2016: NHI Secretariat Engaging with Bahamians and Stakeholders at NHI Bahamasand Abroad
June 2016: NHI Secretariat Engaging with Bahamians and Stakeholders at NHI Bahamasand Abroad

Representatives of the NHI Secretariat was busy in the month of June, with town hall meetings, stakeholder consultations, and speaking engagements all over The Bahamas, as well as a bilateral exchange in Johannesburg to explore best practices for the implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The NHI Secretariat continued to meet with Bahamians across the archipelago with stops in Mayaguana, Abaco, Acklins and Crooked Island during the month of June, as well as engaging with stakeholders and travelling to South Africa for a bilateral exchange of information.

Ms. Catherine Weech, Hospital Administrator and NHI Health System Strengthening Consultant visited Mayaguana on June 10th, where she met with local residents representing a cross section of persons in the community, including heads of local government, Ministry of Works, Water and Sewage, and religious leaders. Questions by attendees focused on issues related to sourcing of NHI funding and the process beyond primary health care and the decision making process around access to catastrophic coverage. Ms. Weech also presented at a community church service on Sunday June 12th.

Ms. Elizabeth Keju, NHI Consultant, Administration and Public Management of Change, travelled to Abaco on June 22nd, making presentations at Baker’s Bay, Sandy Point and Crossing Rock.  The presentations were well attended, and were coordinated by South Abaco Administrator Mrs. Laverne Harris-Smith and attended by Mr. Edison Key, Member of Parliament for the constituency along with leaders within the South Abaco District.

Mrs. Jacqueline Estevez, Chief Councillor for South Abaco District said, “Residents should become familiar with NHI because it is in their best interest as it will provide better healthcare services for all Bahamians.”

Mr. Key echoed her sentiments: “It doesn’t matter which government is in power, we all need health insurance because we are all Bahamians and we want to live healthy lives.”  He also added that given his own previous health concerns, “The Government is doing a good thing with the implementation of NHI because it will help Bahamians.”

Further, the Secretariat visited the clinic at Marsh Harbour and spoke with the administrator.

The same day, June 22nd, Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance Peter Deveaux-Isaacs travelled to Acklins and spoke to more than 50 people, representing community members from across the entire island of Acklins and included heads of local government, the island administrator’s office team, health workers, fishermen, and members of the religious community.

Persons were very engaged with the presentation, and questions focused how will NHI Bahamas facilitate health services for persons living in the Family Islands, eligibility of persons for NHI Bahamas and what constitutes a legal Bahamian resident. The Hon. V. Alfred Gray, Member of Parliament for MICAL, conference called into the meeting to also address the residents.

“NHI Bahamas will not only benefit our community but also the future generation and development of our country,” commented Minister Gray.

After the town hall, one resident noted: “I am very grateful for the NHI Secretariat taking the time out to speak to the people of Acklins. Education is key and this information will benefit the people of Acklins. NHI Bahamas is so important because even though I am getting older, my kids and grandkids will need it. I am supporting NHI Bahamas for them. They deserve good health care.”

Following the successful meeting in Acklins, Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs travelled to Crooked Island for a town hall on June 23rd. More than 40 persons were in attendance, and were very engaged and supported NHI Bahamas. In addition to questions asked around access to private doctors and services, residents were also interested in the process of referral beyond your primary health care doctor. Most persons in attendance, in anticipation of NHI Bahamas, had already registered and received their new NIB smart card.

Peter Deveaux-Isaacs noted that, “With NHI Bahamas, patients are at the centre of care in this plan. We are transforming a system that is focused on curing ailments to one that will promote healthy lifestyles and prevention of catastrophic illnesses. Bahamians absolutely deserve this and we plan to deliver.”

The NHI Secretariat team also coordinated several smaller community gatherings with residents on Friday June 24th to answer any additional questions or concerns of the plan.

Also in June, members of the NHI Secretariat travelled to South Africa to observe and evaluate best practices for the implementation of UHC in The Bahamas.  A team consisting of Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager; Dr. Kevin Bowe, Deputy Director, National Health Insurance & Special Projects, National Insurance Board and Ms. Damara Dillett, NHI Legal Counsel travelled to Johannesburg and to Cape Town the week of 13th of June, 2016. The purpose of the trip was to facilitate a bilateral exchange of information and a global approach to building the best UHC model for Bahamians.

The month of June was also busy with activity on the stakeholder engagement front, with multiple meetings with organisations including: the Medical Association of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Insurance Association, the Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation and others. Stakeholders also participated in two UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting, on June 9th and June 28th, continuing to share their expertise and advise on NHI Bahamas.

 

Summary of activity:

Town hall meetings:

  • June 10: Mayaguana
  • June 22: Abaco
  • June 22: Acklins
  • June 23: Crooked Island

Stakeholder consultations:

  • June 9th: Meeting of the UHC Executive Steering Committee
  • June 9th: Meeting of the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council
  • June 10th: Consultations with representatives of the Medical Association of The Bahamas
  • June 10th: Consultations with representatives of the Bahamas Insurance Association
  • June 28th: Meeting of the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council
  • June 29th: Consultations with representatives of the Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists
  • June 29th:Consultations with representative of Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation
  • June 29th: Consultations with representatives of Trade Unions
  • June 29th: Consultations with physicians

Speaking engagements:

  • June 16th: Midwifery Association of The Bahamas

 

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 29 June 2016
NHI Secretariat travel to South Africa for Global Approach to Universal Health Coverage
NHI Secretariat travel to South Africa for Global Approach to Universal Health Coverage

Members of the NHI Secretariat traveled to South Africa in mid-June to observe and evaluate best practices for the implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in The Bahamas.

 

A team consisting of Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager; Dr. Kevin Bowe, Deputy Director, National Health Insurance & Special Projects, National Insurance Board and Ms. Damara Dillett, NHI Legal Counsel traveled to Johannesburg and to Cape Town over the week of 13th of June 2016. The purpose of the trip was to facilitate a bilateral exchange of information and a global approach to building the best UHC model for Bahamians.

A series of meetings provided team members with a better understanding of South Africa’s own journey towards UHC.  The Secretariat met with Minister of Health, Dr. Aaron Motsoadeli, who stressed that the importance of providing quality health care must be at the primary care stage.  Other meetings were facilitated during the week with key industry stakeholders including health economists, the Government Employees Medical Scheme and the KwaZulu-Natal Managed Care Coalition, which is a group of doctors with a mission to promote and enhance quality and accessible health care on the basis of sound economic principles.

The Secretariat also held healthy dialogues with representatives of the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, a shared value insurance company that incentivizes people to be healthier. The Bahamian Secretariat was introduced to new and innovative avenues for small-to-medium sized businesses to have a positive impact on health and promote a healthier Bahamas.  “We have to find ways to incentivize good behavior.  For example, when you go to the grocery store and purchase foods that are good for you, you receive 25% off’ explained Dr. Brennen. ‘Every day that you meet walking goals, you earn activity points that you can redeem for discounts on items like airline tickets, movie passes and otherwise. We have to take best practices and learn from them so that we can improve people’s health’.

The team collected practical insights for the ways in which to set up and run the Public Insurer, as well as wellness programs. Being able to engrain the importance of wellness in the culture is an important lesson learned in South Africa that must be considered in The Bahamas.

‘The trip provided a tremendous amount of validation that The Bahamas is moving in the right direction with its strategic implementation of NHI Bahamas’ said Dr Bowe. ‘We shared our experience just as much as we had the opportunity to learn from our hosts.’

This fact-finding trip is part of a broader approach designed to promote a global exchange of information between The Bahamas and other nations, as we move towards the enrolment phase of NHI Bahamas.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 15 June 2016
NHI Secretariat in May 2016: Focused on Progress
NHI Secretariat in May 2016: Focused on Progress

 

The NHI Secretariat continued with public consultations and reaching key integrated governance milestones throughout the month of May.

In early May, a team from the NHI Secretariat traveled to Matthew Town, Inagua to speak with residents of the community about NHI Bahamas and addressed their questions and concerns.

During the second week of May, a team from the NHI Secretariat which included Ms. Catherine Weech, Hospital Administrator and NHI Health System Strengthening Consultant, and KPMG Bahamas, visited clinics and hospitals in Grand Bahama, Nassau and Abaco. They had the opportunity to meet with local hospital administrators and support staff to gain a better understanding of the services and quality of care currently being offered to Bahamians on those islands.

As part of the mechanism of the integrated universal health coverage (UHC) governance model for the decision-making framework for the implementation of UHC, invitations were formally issued on May 31st to prospective members who will form the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council. In addition, the UHC Executive Steering Committee met for the first time on May 31st and will continue to meet on a weekly basis.

The NHI Secretariat has been making great strides, working behind the scenes on finalizing the legal and operational framework needed for further implementation of NHI. Of note, the 2nd draft of the NHI Bill is almost complete and is in the process of undergoing additional review. Three requests for proposals (RFP) will be issued in the coming months, including one for the Third Party Administrator for the Public Insurer, one for the wellness program provider for the Public Insurer, and one for the NHI I.T. systems. The RFPs have almost been completed and will be issued publicly shortly. Finally, a policy paper on NHI, which outlines the framework for a modern, affordable and accessible NHI Bahamas has been completed and awaits approval.

In an effort to gather comprehensive feedback from as many Bahamians and stakeholder groups as possible, community meetings, stakeholder consultations and speaking engagements will continue to be held in Nassau and across the Family Islands. For the list of June town halls, please visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

Summary of speaking engagements, visits and stakeholder consultations:

  • Week of May 2nd:
    • The New Way Progressive Baptist Association International
    • Morning Star Baptist Association
    • Bahamas Baptist Association
    • Anglican Church Women of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands Conference
  • Week of May 9th:
    • Graham Thompson & Co.
    • Visits of health care facilities in Grand Bahama and Abaco
    • Visits to SouthBeach Clinic, Adelaide Clinic and Doctor’s Hospital in New Providence
  • Week of May 16th:
    • St John Native Baptist
    • Visits to Princess Margaret Hospital
  • Week of May 30th:
    • Bahamas Christian Council

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

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 9 June 2016
Government holds first UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council Meeting
Government holds first UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council Meeting

Today, the Government held the inaugural universal health coverage (UHC) Stakeholder Advisory Council meeting at the NHI Secretariat headquarters.

The Stakeholder Council is part of the Government’s approved integrated UHC governance structure, and will regularly bring together a select group of stakeholders representing the health sector, patients, employers, employees, civil society, and the insurance industry.

Dr. Mark Britnell, Chairman and Partner, Global Health Practice, KPMG, facilitated the discussion.

“We had a very productive first meeting with a lot of different perspectives coming together towards the one common goal and vision of universal health coverage which support modern, affordable and accessible health care for all” said Dr. Britnell. “I’m confident that continuing to engage with stakeholders through a formal advisory council as part of the overall governance structure will bring valuable ideas and feedback on the continued rollout of UHC.”

The mandate of the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council is to support the design and implementation of UHC, provide advice to the UHC Executive Steering Committee and to review and provide feedback on matters brought to the Advisory Council.

There will continue to be opportunities for stakeholder consultations with groups and individuals who were not invited to serve on the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council.

For more information on the UHC governance structure as well as the list of those invited join the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council please visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 31 May 2016
Backgrounder: UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council
Backgrounder: UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council

In keeping with the Government of The Bahamas’ commitment to work with stakeholders to shape the design and implementation of universal health coverage (UHC) and support advancement of health system goals, the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council is being formed.

A select group of stakeholders representing the health sector, patients, employers, employees, civil society, and the insurance industry were formally invited to join the Advisory Council, which is proposed to hold its inaugural meeting the week of June 6th 2016. This newly formed group will be in addition to ongoing stakeholder and public consultation as the Government moves forward in implementing UHC in The Bahamas.

The following principles will guide the Advisory Council:

  • Shared Vision – rally around a vision to successfully implement UHC.
  • Collaboration – collaboration will lead us to better solutions and we will work together.
  • Accessibility – providing accessible patient care to all Bahamians.
  • Sustainability – present solutions to sustain health care system.
  • Quality of Care – ensure health care services are considered effective if they lead to best possible patient care outcomes; safe if they are responsive to patients’ needs while minimizing risks; and of a high standard if they use leading practices, the right information and the most appropriate technology.

The main roles and responsibilities of the Council are as follow:

  • To support the design and implementation of UHC.
  • To provide advice to the UHC Executive Steering Committee on matters relating to the implementation of UHC.
  • To review and provide feedback, upon request, on matters brought to the Advisory Council.
  • To engage stakeholders and the community for ideas and feedback on the design and implementation of UHC.
  • To champion universal health coverage vision and goals, which support modern, affordable and accessible healthcare for all.

Organizations invited include:

  • Medical Association of The Bahamas
  • Nurses Association of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
  • Bahamas Health Professions Association
  • Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association
  • Bahamas Dental Association
  • National Commission for Persons with Disabilities
  • CMO Emeritus
  • PAHO/WHO Country Representative
  • Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Council
  • National Congress of Trade Unions of The Bahamas
  • Trade Union Congress & Bahamas Public Service Union
  • Bahamas Insurance Association
  • Bahamas Christian Council
  • Civil Society Bahamas

Since it was not feasible to include the entire spectrum of relevant stakeholders in UHC governance, there will be additional opportunities for stakeholder consultations in the future with groups and individuals who were not invited to serve on the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council. The Government will consult in good faith with as many stakeholders as possible in preparation for the implementation of universal health coverage.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 31 May 2016
Stakeholders invited to form Advisory Council on NHI Bahamas
Stakeholders invited to form Advisory Council on NHI Bahamas

Stakeholder Advisory Council being formed to establish decision-making framework for implementation of universal health coverage

Today, Permanent Secretary for the National Health Insurance (NHI) Secretariat, Peter Deveaux-Isaacs announced that invitations have been formally issued to prospective members who will form the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council.

In keeping with the Government of The Bahamas’ commitment to working with stakeholders to shape the design and implementation of universal health coverage (UHC) and support the advancement of health system strengthening goals, the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council is intended to ensure that there is ongoing stakeholder engagement and continuous collaboration towards the effort of attaining UHC in country and the improvement of the health of Bahamian residents. Additionally, the Advisory Council is designed to ensure a responsible and cooperative approach towards meeting the Government’s NHI Bahamas’ timelines.

To officially launch the UHC governance structure proposed by KPMG, a kick-off meeting is scheduled to be held the week of June 6th at the NHI Bahamas Secretariat.

“As we move forward implementing universal health coverage, it is important to formalize a governance structure that will oversee the work being undertaken. We have invited knowledgeable stakeholders to take part in the decision-making process for the roll-out of universal health coverage,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs.

The UHC Advisory Council will include representation from key stakeholder groupings. The government maintains its efforts to consult with all stakeholders. The stakeholder community remains relevant to the process. The Government intends to consult in good faith with as many stakeholders as possible in preparation for the implementation of UHC.

“NHI Bahamas is committed to good governance, and the creation of the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council is a part of this new mechanism,” added Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs. “Stakeholder participation in this group will be key in shaping the final NHI model.”

The UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council will meet regularly, with the overall goal of engaging stakeholders and the community for ideas and feedback on the design and implementation of UHC.

The mandate for the UHC Stakeholder Advisory Council is outlined in the accompanying backgrounder. An outline of the UHC governance structure is also attached.

Media should contact 565-7012 for interview requests.

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25 May 2016
Modernizing Health Care and National Health Insurance
Modernizing Health Care and National Health Insurance
PM Christie highlighted the importance of providing practical and cost effective Universal Health Care to Bahamians as a key priority of his Government in today’s budget communication.

 

Mr. Speaker,

The provision of practical and cost effective Universal Health Care to Bahamians remains a key priority of my Government. The subject of National Health Insurance continues to attract healthy debate among medical practitioners and others; however, my commitment, and that of the Government, to the accessibility and affordability of basic medical services and the improvement of the quality of life for Bahamians, is unequivocal and together with the involvement of leadership from the NHI Bahamas Secretariat, the Ministry of Health, the Public Hospitals Authority and our global partner in healthcare, KPMG Bahamas, we are committed to delivering health care that is modern, affordable and accessible for all legal residents of The Bahamas.

 

The implementation of NHI Bahamas is reflected in our continual assessment and evaluation of our medical professionals, health care facilities, allocation of resources and effective delivery of services. All of these elements are of vital importance to the core of health systems strengthening and an essential aspect of the successful implementation of NHI Bahamas.

We have made significant investments in the evaluation and assessment of our public health sector. We have evaluated our public healthcare facilities, taken account of the need for additional doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, analyzed the distribution of financial and material resources and determined the deficit in terms of availability, accessibility and the quality of services in our public sector.

Strategic Health Systems Strengthening plans have been developed and are being implemented to bridge the gaps in all areas to support the implementation of National Health Insurance for The Bahamas.

It is also unacceptable that, today, 70% of Bahamians still do not have health insurance. Not being able to afford health care can result in illnesses that are preventable; that can be avoided through access to primary care, which will be the first phase of coverage. It is also unacceptable that 32% of Bahamians who needed medical treatment at some point did not seek it because of cost. It cannot be underscored enough that in a modern Bahamas this is our opportunity to provide all Bahamians with the means and wherewithal to obtain routine medical services for themselves and their families.

The Ministry of Health, including the Department of Public Health and the Public Hospitals Authority, have introduced extended clinic hours and increased administrative capacity and availability of services in recent months.

Since the beginning of this year, the NHI Secretariat has engaged in meaningful dialogue to educate all Bahamians about NHI. This has included presentations to civic, corporate, religious, government and non-government entities. The Secretariat consistently makes itself available to any and all organizations which request their presence for a presentation and discussion around NHI. They have traveled across The Bahamas, meeting local residents and speaking at town hall meetings in most islands. Before the end of this budget year every island would have been engaged in discussions on the National Health Insurance Programme.  I am advised that these presentations are being well received and that the general public is calling for the implementation of NHI Bahamas without further delay.

Additionally, over the last twelve months, the NHI Secretariat has consistently and assiduously collaborated with stakeholders to improve the manner in which we can collaborate regarding NHI Bahamas.

Although public consultation regarding the NHI legislation has concluded, stakeholder engagements will continue in order to further develop the roadmap towards the phased implementation of NHI Bahamas.

These stakeholder groups have included:

  • The Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists
  • The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employer’s Confederation
  • The Bahamas Chiropractic Association
  • The Bahamas Dental Association
  • The Bahamas Doctors Union
  • The Bahamas Insurance Association
  • The Bahamas Nurses’ Association
  • The Medical Association of The Bahamas and
  • The Pharmacy Association of The Bahamas

My Cabinet has approved a single governance model that will accelerate the implementation of Universal Health Coverage while providing effective oversight of the Programme.  The approved, integrated Universal Health Coverage governance structure will allow for quick and effective decision making with transparency and accountability, as well as the alignment of health systems, and will result in greater efficiency, continuity of care and the seamless delivery of patient-centered services in the Government health sector.

The accepted Integrated Universal Health Coverage governance model that my Government has adopted, following the recommendations of KPMG, is in keeping with our commitment to work with stakeholders to shape the design and implementation of Universal Health Coverage and support the advancement of health system-strengthening goals.  Additionally, the Universal Health Care (UHC) Stakeholder Advisory Committee is being formed to improve the health of Bahamians through ongoing stakeholder engagement and continuous collaboration.

The budget allocation for the Ministry of Health reflects an investment in primary care coverage and health systems’ strengthening that will significantly improve the quality of life for Bahamians.  This will reveal itself in shorter wait times, improved facilities, more doctors and Bahamians living longer and healthier lives in a modern Bahamas.

In any event, when we are advised that Bahamians are generally the worst off in the region and some say in the world with respect to the incidence of diabetes – a most debilitating and life changing disease.

Then, we must readily accept that there is a compelling urgency to launch a National Lifestyle improvement Programme for all Bahamians with special emphasis on our school population.

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18 May 2016
NHI Secretariat Summary of Activities – March-April 2016
NHI Secretariat Summary of Activities – March-April 2016

The NHI Secretariat conducted extensive consultations throughout the months of March and April with stakeholder groups, hosted town hall meetings across the country with members of the public, and participated in speaking engagements with government officials, church groups and other NGOs.

 

All of the feedback collected to date is being taken under consideration as the NHI Secretariat moves forward in preparing for phase 2 – enrolment of NHI Bahamas.

Town Hall Meetings

Over the course of March and April, town hall meetings were hosted in the following communities:

Week of February 29th-March 4th:
  • San Salvador
  • Rock Sound, Eleuthera
  • Governors Harbour, Eleuthera
  • Spanish Wells
  • Harbour Island
Week of March 7th-11th:
  • Cat Island
  • Clarence Town, Long Island
  • Simms, Long Island
  • Nicholls Town, Andros
  • Fresh Creek, Andros
Week of March 14th-18th:
  • Coopers Town, Abaco
  • Marsh Harbour, Abaco
  • Bimini
Week of April 11th-15th:
  • Berry Islands
  • Kemp’s Bay, Andros
  • Mangrove Cay, Andros

Stakeholder Consultations

Consultations were conducted with the following stakeholder groups in March and April:

Week of February 29th-March 4th:
  • Glen Beneby, Chief Medical Officer
  • Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation
  • Bahamas Association of Physiotherapists
  • Bahamas Insurance Association
  • Consultants Physician Association
  • Insurance Brokers
  • The Bahamas Medical Pavilion
Week of March 7th-11th:
  • Bahamas Association of Medical Technologists
  • Bahamas Chiropractic Association
  • Bahamas Dental Association
  • Bahamas Doctor Union
  • Duane Sands
  • Family Medicine Centre
  • Medical Association of The Bahamas
  • Security Forces (i.e. Police Staff Association, Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Bahamas Correctional Officers Association)
Week of March 14th-18th:
  • Bahamas Pharmaceuticals Association (Retailers and Wholesalers)
  • Leon Dupuch, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at PMH and Dr. Lorne Charles, Senior Registrar at PMH
  • Integrated Medical Centre and Abaco Auskell Medical Centre
  • Marsh Harbour Medical Centre
  • Bahamas Insurance Association
  • Insurance Commission of the Bahamas
Week of March 21th-25th:
  • Nurses Council
  • Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association
  • Unions
Week of April 25th-29th:
  • Trade Union Congress and Bahamas Public Service Union
  • Nurses Union and Nurses Association
  • Doctor’s Hospital

Speaking Engagements

The NHI Secretariat also participated in speaking engagements with the following groups:

Week of February 29th-March 4th:
  • Johnson Park 7th Day Adventist Church
  • ACM St. Agnes Parish
  • Coral Towers, Atlantis Executive Officers
Week of March 7th-11th:
  • Thelma Gibson Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
  • Seabreeze Meeting
Week of March 14th-18th:
  • John’s College PTA
  • COGOP National Conclave
  • Public Workers Cooperative Union
  • Doctors Hospital to the AAPC Coding Bahamas Chapter
  • Ebenezer Methodist Church
Week of March 21st-25th:
  • Bahamas Psychological Association
Week of April 4th-8th:
  • The Cove & Reef Housekeeping (Atlantis)
  • Toastmasters’ Club
  • The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities
Week of April 11th-15th:
  • Pinewood Urban Renewal Seniors Health Session
  • Bahamas Academy School PTA
  • Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association
  • ACM Council, Eleuthera
Week of April 18th-22nd:
  • Tabor Church
  • Ebenezer Methodist Church
  • Prospective retirees from the College of The Bahamas
  • Stapledon School PTA
  • The Bahamas Association of Administrative Professionals
  • Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants
Week of April 25th-29th:
  • Registrar General Department

In the interest of obtaining comprehensive feedback from as many Bahamian citizens and stakeholder groups as possible, town hall meetings, stakeholder consultations and speaking engagements will continue to be held in Nassau and across the Family Islands.

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

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

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20 April 2016
NHI Speaks To Congregation of Mount Tabor Church
NHI Speaks To Congregation of Mount Tabor Church

Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager and Dr. Kevin Bowe, Dr. Kevin T. Bowe, Deputy Director, National Health Insurance & Special Projects (The National Insurance Board of the Bahamas) were invited to present to the congregation of Mount Tabor Church on the ‪#‎NHIBahamas‬ Plan.

 

The invitation was extended by Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Senior Pastor and Presiding Bishop of Global United Fellowship. The team spoke to a crowd of several hundred people following their Holy Communion service. Many persons in attendance have registered for their new NIB smart card and are ready for the next phase of NHI Bahamas. Bishop Ellis extended his thanks to the NHI Secretariat and pledged full support to initiative.

NHI web 2           NHI web 3

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14 April 2016
79% of Bahamians believe The Bahamas needs NHI
79% of Bahamians believe The Bahamas needs NHI

79% of Bahamians believe The Bahamas needs a National Health Insurance Programme, according to National Survey

Country-wide public opinion surveys have demonstrated the need for access to health care in The Bahamas, with nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) Bahamians believing that The Bahamas needs National Health Insurance. One out of three (32%) of Bahamians without health insurance say they have at some point needed medical treatment but not sought it because they were worried about the cost.

The data was collected over two polls, in November through December, and in March 2016. Those polled indicated that while 57% say that National Health Insurance will address the major problems the healthcare system currently faces, 71% still believe it is an important piece of improving the health care system in The Bahamas.

The Government launched the NHI Bahamas brand and their awareness and information campaign in January with a website, social media and community meetings. The surveys show that awareness of NHI Bahamas has increased since December from 81% to 87%, likely because of these promotional activities. The ability to describe what NHI Bahamas is/what it aims to do has also increased. In December before promotional activities really started, 45% of the population could not describe anything about what NHI is. In the Feb/March poll that number dropped to 20%. Research also shows that people still haven’t registered for their Smart Card. Only one in five have registered and 54% of those who are not registered know that they need a NIB Smart Card to register.

Some other key findings include:

  • 87% of polled Bahamians have heard of NHI Bahamas.
  • Bahamians without insurance (75%) are less likely than those with insurance (84%) to have visited a medical professional in the past year.
  • On average, uninsured Bahamians say they spend individually $816 per year on medical expenses. Those with insurance say they spend an average of $576 on medical expenses (including their health insurance premiums).
  • 44% of those surveyed have attended a cookout or given to a fundraiser for someone they know to help cover medical expenses.
  • Preventative care is more accessible amongst those with insurance: 66% of insured respondents received an annual physical last year, compared with just 39% of uninsured.
  • 1 in 3 Bahamians are aware that town hall meetings on NHI Bahamas are occurring.

Surveys were conducted by Public Domain, a national market research firm, from November 25th to December 5th 2015, with a sample size of 1003 participants, and 2% margin of error; and from February 22nd – March 6th 2016, with a sample size of 255 participants and a margin of error of 6.3%. It is important to note that these were opinion polls, and results reflect answers given by a randomly selected portion of the population according to industry best practices.

 

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14 April 2016
NHI Secretariat Statement
NHI Secretariat Statement

In regards to the statements made by the United Healthcare Reform Alliance, comprised of several health stakeholders, the NHI Secretariat wants to stress that we have been meeting with these groups regularly over the last several months and we value their input.

 

In fact, since the release of the draft NHI legislation on February 18th, the NHI Secretariat has redoubled efforts to communicating with key industry stakeholders as well as the general public to gather feedback on the proposed NHI Bahamas model in an effort to strengthen and clarify the draft Bill. The draft Bill is still under revision with comments from stakeholders being considered in the final drafting.

It is important to have a constructive and professional dialogue on issues relating to NHI Bahamas, as we know that this programme will help hundreds of thousands of Bahamians – 200,000 in fact, who do not have health insurance. We need to make National Health Insurance a reality for many struggling Bahamians.

The Secretariat has repeatedly gone on record with its open invitation to any group, organization or individual interested in meaningful and constructive dialogue. We are extending this invitation to the alliance, many of whose members we continue to meet.

The Secretariat has been addressing challenges and concerns raised by stakeholders as part of the NHI Bahamas rollout including ensuring the programme operates with several key things in mind:

  • Choice: Bahamians can choose both their registered and certified doctor and insurance provider. They can stay with their current physician if they wish, or they can choose another primary care provider.
  • Continued improvement of public health care facilities: health system strengthening activities are ongoing throughout our islands and will continue indefinitely.
  • Data protection: we have been working hand in hand with the Data Protection Commissioner’s office to ensure that sensitive data under NHI Bahamas is treated and protected in the proper manner. All provisions in the draft bill are in line with international standards on data protection.
  • Prudent and realistic fiscal planning: the Government has done its own financial estimates for the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas, and this figure has been validated by KPMG Advisory Bahamas who continue to be engaged in rolling out the programme in a fiscally responsible manner, and assisting with costing for the full programme implementation.
  • Governance structure: the Government is in the process of finalizing the Programme Board, as recommended by KPMG, that will include private sector membership in an integrated governance structure. This mechanism is consistent with international best practices in governance.

The Secretariat has been incorporating stakeholders as active participants in the roll-out of NHI Bahamas as much as possible. Based on a number of consultations with members of the organizations who form this alliance and others, an enhanced governance structure has been developed that unifies all key aspects of the health care system and gives stakeholders a voice.

Once again, it is important to discuss concerns and questions on NHI Bahamas in a constructive way and in good faith. We look forward to continued dialogue with stakeholders as we move forward to providing Bahamians with the modern, affordable and accessible health care they deserve.

Contact:

NHI Secretariat

502-7601

info@NHIbahamas.gov.bs

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5 April 2016
NHI Bahamas New Commercial Shows How Primary Care Will Help You
NHI Bahamas New Commercial Shows How Primary Care Will Help You

NHI Bahamas has released a new 60 second video depicting how NHI Bahamas’ Primary Care phase, once implemented, will impact the lives of ordinary, everyday Bahamians.

The commercial depicts, through the eyes of a young girl, the ways in which primary care, once launched, will help the various people in her life, and put them on a healthier path. This is one family, her family, but it is also all of our families.

“While we may try to shield children from some of the realities of adult life – health problems, financial difficulties and the like – we know that they feel when those around them struggle. But they also know when something is there to help,” says Permanent Secretary for NHI, Peter Deveaux-Isaacs. “This video shows how NHI Bahamas will help the people that this child loves. Once people are unburdened by the financial cost and access to care, they can focus on leading healthier and more productive lives.”

He continued by saying, “As we have stated, we are taking the time to get NHI Bahamas implemented the right way, not the fastest way. Between now and the launch of the enrolment and primary care phases of NHI Bahamas, our goal is to educate the public on how, in a very tangible way, they can benefit from having a more modern, affordable and accessible health care system.”

The Permanent Secretary describes the various scenarios depicted in the new NHI Bahamas commercial:

“We meet the child’s pregnant mother, who worries about the health of her unborn baby. Since she has been a single mother for a while now, she knows it is up to her to provide the best care for both her children. Once the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas begins, she can receive pre-natal care, ultrasounds, and advice on nutrition and vitamins from her primary care provider. She can access modern health services at no cost to her at the point of care. Her story shows that NHI Bahamas is modern.

“We meet the child’s aunt and uncle. Her uncle has been feeling unwell for a while but as stubborn as men can be, he refuses to go to the doctor. He is constantly tired, gets winded performing regular tasks and often experiences chest pain. He worries he would have to stand in line at a clinic for hours, which would require him to take time off work. He would also have to pay to receive imaging and testing. His wife suspects health problems that could get out of control if they aren’t dealt with soon. As husbands and wives often do, they row about him putting off going to the doctor. NHI Bahamas will provide the child’s uncle with a choice to see a registered doctor in the public or the private sector. Now that he and others can choose to access health services where they wish (as long as the providers are registered and certified with the NHI Authority), he may not have to wait as long to see a doctor. He can now also get his blood pressure and cholesterol checked, receive an EKG, and get medication to ensure his risk of heart disease is lowered – all this at no cost to him at the point of service. His story shows that NHI Bahamas is accessible.

“And finally we meet the child’s Grammy. Not yet 65 years old, she has worked her entire life to support her family. Money is tight, as it has always been. She is battling arthritis in her joints. It pains her to not be as mobile as she used to be, to play with her granddaughter as she once did. Grammy portions out her hard earned money to pay her bills and a little bit of the remaining funds on some arthritis medication, which she might only take every few days so it will last longer. She has little bit left to save for a trip with her granddaughter. Once the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas begins, her arthritis medication will be paid for by the Government through NHI Bahamas, and she can save more money for this special trip. Grammy’s story shows that NHI Bahamas is affordable.”

The video concludes with the child saying “This is my NHI. What’s yours?”

The NHI Secretariat urges all Bahamians to think about how the NHI Bahamas primary care phase will help you and your family – answer the question: What’s your NHI? And respond using the hashtag #MyNHI.

Bahamians are also reminded that these services will be available only when the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas begins, and that you must get your NIB Smart Card to be prepared for enrolment in the programme.

 

The Permanent Secretary concluded, “It may not be able to solve all your problems, but once NHI Bahamas is implemented, many Bahamians will have one less thing to worry about. This is #MyNHI. What is yours?”

The new commercial and more information on NHI Bahamas can be found at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

 

Facebook: NHI Bahamas

Twitter: @NHIBahamas

Instagram: @NHIBahamas

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

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22 March 2016
Government Implementing Universal Health Care the Right Way
Government Implementing Universal Health Care the Right Way

The NHI Secretariat, in its ongoing efforts to bring universal health care to The Bahamas, reaffirmed today that the Government is focused on getting the implementation of NHI Bahamas right.

“Over the last several months, the Government has been working hard to come together with stakeholders and agree on the NHI model that works for us. It must be the right one, not the quickest one. We are not going to rush something so important for us and our country,” said Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux-Isaacs.

The Permanent Secretary announced that the Government has been working with KPMG Advisory Bahamas for the last several weeks. KPMG Advisory Bahamas has also engaged the expertise of its global network of health care experts to serve as advisors.

At a press conference today, the Permanent Secretary and Dr. Kevin Bowe, Deputy Director at NIB for NHI and Special Projects, were joined by Dr. Mark Britnell, Chairman and Senior Partner for KPMG’s Global Health Practice, and Dr. Anuschka Coovadia, Head of Healthcare Markets, Africa and Associate Director at KPMG.

The Secretariat wanted to manage expectations as to the start of the next phases of NHI Bahamas, and the importance of taking time to rollout NHI Bahamas the right way. Ongoing Health System Strengthening activities were also highlighted. These form the backbone for delivering better health system performance in the future as part of the road to universal health care.

At the press conference the Secretariat also outlined KPMG Bahamas’ role.

“It is important to do this properly. That is why we have partnered with KPMG Advisory Bahamas and their global health care team – to tap into their extensive international experience and incorporate best practices from similar initiatives around the world,” said the Permanent Secretary.

KPMG Advisory Bahamas has been brought on board to advise the Government on NHI Bahamas implementation to ensure the programme continues to be rolled out in a responsible and sustainable manner, and to ensure due diligence when it comes to mapping out the final costing model for the programme. KPMG has already done much analysis and has confirmed that the Government’s estimation of $100 million per year for the primary care package of NHI Bahamas is reasonable and responsible.

KPMG Bahamas is also advising on the creation and administration of the public insurer, which will be set up as part of the NHI Bahamas programme. Some stakeholders have suggested, and KPMG and the Government have agreed, that the public insurer would be managed by a third party private entity – to ensure accountability and transparency in its operations. This morning, Cabinet approved this recommendation.

Lastly, KPMG has been working with the Secretariat on meaningful engagement with all key stakeholders, for which work is well under way.

“We commend the government for its early stance and its progress on universal health care. We must highlight that it is a marathon and not a sprint,” said Dr. Britnell. “Universal health care is one of the greatest gifts a country can give itself in terms of nation building.”

“Implementing an affordable, strong and practical NHI programme takes time and patience, as seen by the experiences from the UK, Canada, Japan, South Africa and others,” added Dr. Coovadia.

Among KPMG Advisory Bahamas’ main priorities is to incorporate stakeholders as active participants in the roll-out of NHI Bahamas as much as possible. The firm has already held a large number of stakeholder meetings and will continue to work with relevant parties.

Based on these consultations, Dr. Britnell outlined an enhanced governance structure that unifies all key aspects of the health care system and gives stakeholders a voice as well. This had been approved by cabinet as well.

The event concluded with Dr. Kevin Bowe of the NHI Secretariat providing an update on various community information meetings that have been organized by the Secretariat on 12 different islands of The Bahamas thus far. More meetings are scheduled, and the full schedule can be found online.

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

Facebook: NHI Bahamas

Twitter: @NHIBahamas

Instagram: @NHIBahamas

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

 

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21 March 2016
NHI Secretariat Meets with Residents in Andros, Abaco and Bimini
NHI Secretariat Meets with Residents in Andros, Abaco and Bimini

The NHI Secretariat continued its visits across the Archipelago with a two day stop in North and Central Andros on March 10th and 11th, followed by Abaco and Bimini earlier this week.

Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager attended a town hall meeting in Nicholls Town in North Andros on March 10th and presented to over 25 residents.Mr. Ivan Ferguson, the island administrator opened and closed the meeting and commended the Government for bringing the message and information on NHI Bahamas to every island. North Andros residents were keenly interested in NHI, and asked a variety of questions on primary care and the cost of NHI, as well as the separate issue of improving existing health infrastructure.

Many residents were also very supportive of health promotion and focusing on healthy lifestyles.

On March 11th, Ms. Deborah Bastian from the NHI Secretariat travelled to Fresh Creek in Central Andros. She attended a morning meeting with department heads and other public servants. The majority of those in attendance had private insurance through their employers and were concerned about whether or not their benefits would change once NHI was implemented. Residents were assured that under NHI Bahamas, Bahamians will not have to give up their private health insurance – they have the choice to stay with their private insurer if they wish to do so. In the evening, Ms. Bastian addressed a large group of nearly 50 residents about NHI, the majority of whom did not have private health insurance. However, close to 90% of those in attendance already held NIB Smart Cards.

One resident during the meeting commented: “I am so happy that the Government has seen fit to introduce National Health Insurance. Over the years, I know of a number of persons who have lost their health insurance because they could no longer afford it.”

On March 15th, Dr Brennen facilitated a series of stakeholder and community meetings in Abaco on NHI Bahamas. The Cooper’s Town and Marsh Harbour town hall meetings had a combined audience of over 50 Abaconians. Questions from residents ranged from how migrants would be served differently from Bahamians to clarifying questions regarding the national drug plan and medications covered under NHI.

Also on March 15th, Ms. Catherine Weech of the NHI Secretariat visited Alice Town, Bimini, where she met with 40 local residents representing a cross section of persons in the community. Participants asked questions regarding the approval process for doctors, when NHI will start, and concerns around addressing the social determinants of health, such as high food costs, plans to encourage agricultural development, alternative medicine and how benefits will be explained to those who sign up.

“I’ll feel so much more dignity when I no longer have to worry about having enough cash to access medical service,” said an Alice Town resident. “This is long overdue. Bring it in because good health is a right to all people living in our country.”

The Secretariat is looking forward to returning to Andros for visits to the south of the island in the near future.

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

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10 March 2016
NHI Secretariat Holds Successful Meetings in Cat Island and Long Island
NHI Secretariat Holds Successful Meetings in  Cat Island and Long Island

Town hall meetings for National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas continued this week in Cat Island (Knowles Village) and Long Island (Clarence Town and Simms), to inform and engage local residents about NHI.

Catherine Weech, representing the NHI Bahamas Secretariat, led the community meeting in Knowles Town on Monday March 7th at the Ministry of Education’s Media Centre where 32 people, ranging from retirees to young adults, participated in a lively discussion. Ms. Weech addressed questions about whether or not persons should retain their private health insurance (which is a choice that is up to the individual) after NHI is fully implemented, and clarified what happens if a patient’s primary care doctor is located in New Providence. Of the participants, only four had not yet registered for their NIB SmartCard.

Meanwhile, Damara Dillett, NHI Legal Counsel travelled to Long Island on Monday March 7th and spoke to residents in Clarence Town, where 42 people attended the meeting. Many questions focused on NHI, preparation of community clinics for NHI, distinctions between the primary care phase and catastrophic care phase, NHI service fees, concerns of abuse from immigrants, and the reality of choice of providers and services on the island. Questions were also asked about separate ongoing health system strengthening activity.

On Tuesday March 8th in Simms, Dr. Delon Brennen met with 17 residents who had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the meeting. Questions from residents focused on how to get doctors more enthusiastic about NHI Bahamas, mechanisms being used to increase focus on health promotion and prevention, concerns around quality of health care facilities on Long Island, and how to go about changing primary care providers.

“NHI is very important, especially for persons who cannot afford health care. We will let people know about the fantastic information we got from this meeting,” said a local resident who attended the town hall meeting in Simms.

The Secretariat will travel to North and Central Andros on Thursday and Friday of this week.

Next week, the NHI Secretariat will hold town hall meetings in Marsh Harbour and Coopers Town, Abaco (March 15th), Alice Town, Bimini (March 15th), and Acklins Island (March 18th). Local residents are encouraged to attend these meetings to become more educated about NHI Bahamas and the benefits of the programme.

 

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

Facebook: NHI Bahamas

Twitter: @NHIBahamas

Instagram: @NHIBahamas

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

Read More
3 March 2016
NHI Secretariat Concludes Successful Week of Meetings in Eleuthera, San Salvador, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island
NHI Secretariat Concludes Successful Week of Meetings in Eleuthera, San Salvador, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island

Public consultations regarding National Health Insurance (NHI) Bahamas were held this week in Eleuthera (Rock Sound and Governor’s Harbour), San Salvador, Spanish Wells and Harbour Island, to educate and engage residents about the modern, affordable and accessible healthcare system that NHI aims to deliver for Bahamians.

Damara Dillett and Kathy Smith, representing the NHI Bahamas Secretariat, led the community meeting at Rock Sound Primary School where 41 local residents attended and asked questions about the cost of NHI, the timing of the programme’s implementation and what the programme intended to accomplish for Bahamians. Ms. Dillett and Ms. Smith fielded participants’ questions and spoke about the importance of national health insurance, clarified eligibility requirements and outlined the benefits of primary care.

Meanwhile, Catherine Weech and Charles Hamilton of the NHI Bahamas Secretariat travelled to San Salvador to engage the residents for a community townhall meeting at the Idell Jones Community Centre. The event was attended by 45 residents, whose questions covered a variety of issues, including the preparedness of the system for implementation of NHI in San Salvador, the impact of NHI on private health insurance, access to services on the island, clarity around registration versus enrolment, and NHI tax information.

In Governor’s Harbour, close to 40 residents participated and discussed the current state of the health system in Eleuthera and how NHI will improve health care services on the island. Similarly, two meetings were hosted in Spanish Wells where the majority of questions raised related to how NHI would affect services for local residents. In response to these questions, Ms. Dillett explained that with NHI and capitation, there will be more incentive for health professionals to set up on the Family Islands and to provide better care outside of Nassau.

To wrap up the week, a community meeting was held in Harbour Island where Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux Isaacs and Dr. Delon Brennen hosted a group of 55 Bahamians including business owners, working class Bahamians, health professionals, pensioners and the unemployed. During the meeting, Dr. Brennon explained what primary care is, clarified how much the program costs and what Bahamians will have to pay, and went over the five phases of NHI’s implementation.

“As we speak to more and more Bahamians across the country, it is becoming clear that the people want NHI. Comments from Bahamians have been very positive thus far and they are very engaged with this important issue,” said Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux Isaacs. “The general tone of these discussions has been that NHI can’t come fast enough.”

Community meetings across the Family Islands will continue next week with stops in Cat Island, Long Island, Andros and Berry Islands.

Local residents are encouraged to attend these meetings to become more informed about NHI Bahamas and the benefits of the programme.

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

 

Facebook: NHI Bahamas

Twitter: @NHIBahamas

Instagram: @NHIBahamas

 

Contact the NHI Secretariat:

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Phone: 502-7601

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25 February 2016
Only One Card for Care
Only One Card for Care

NIB Smart Card is the only card you need to be prepared for NHI Bahamas enrolment

The National Health Insurance Secretariat wants to remind all Bahamians that they only need one card – the NIB Smart Card – in order to be prepared for enrolment in NHI Bahamas once that phase begins. There is no new NHI Bahamas card – your NIB Smart Card will house your information for the NHI Bahamas programme.

 

“There has been some confusion where persons believe they need their NIB Smart Card and another card specifically for NHI Bahamas,” says Dr. Delon Brennen, Project Manager for NHI Bahamas. “The system is designed to be efficient and coordinated, therefore it is intended that your NIB Smart Card will not only be used for NIB purposes, but for NHI Bahamas as well.”

Only legal Bahamian residents who register for, and receive their NIB Smart Card will be able to enrol in NHI Bahamas once that phase begins.

With NHI Bahamas, legal Bahamian residents – no matter your income, age, island of residence or current health status – will receive health care free of cost at point of service once the primary care phase begins. Primary care includes, but is not limited to, visits to your doctor (primary care provider), disease prevention, health screening, diagnostics (labs and imaging), and treatment (including medications).

“As we say, you must ‘get your card to get your care’, once the primary care phase of NHI Bahamas begins,” continued Dr. Brennen.

The process of obtaining a card involves the assignment of a number. NIB Smart Cards replace the old paper cards that were once distributed.

If you haven’t done so already, to get your NIB Smart Card, you must visit an NIB office. For information about locations, please call 225-5642 or visit the NIB Facebook Page.

You can also register online:

  1. Visit www.nib-bahamas.com and download the Registration Form.
  2. Complete and scan the form.
  3. Email the form to registration@nib-bahamas.com
  4. Someone will contact you to schedule registration. Remember to bring your original documents.
  5. Take your photo, sign and walk out with your new NIB card.

The NHI Bahamas Secretariat is continuing to hold town hall consultations across The Bahamas throughout the month of March to have conversations with Bahamians and answer their questions about NHI Bahamas. Topics include what is NHI and how it will affect you, who is eligible and how to register, as well as what is covered and what is primary care.  All Bahamians are encouraged to attend.

For a full schedule of town hall consultations and more information on NHI Bahamas, please visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs or email info@bahamas.gov.bs

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 18 February 2016
Speaking Notes: NHI Bahamas Press Conference – February 18, 2016
Speaking Notes: NHI Bahamas Press Conference – February 18, 2016

Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, NHI Permanent Secretary

Good afternoon,

I am pleased to announce today a significant step in the ongoing process of NHI Bahamas implementation, which started officially in January of this year, with phase one of registration. The Government of The Bahamas has released the draft National Health Insurance Bill for public review and comment.

NHI Bahamas is an extremely important part of our plan to reach our goal of making The Bahamas the healthiest nation in the Caribbean by 2030.

It will provide, in the initial primary care phase, health insurance coverage to legal residents of The Bahamas at no cost to our citizens.

A significant amount of work has gone into the drafting of the NHI legislation by a working group of technical experts within Government along with consultants in the public and private sector.

My colleagues Dr. Delon Brennen and Ms. Damara Dillett will provide information on stakeholder and public engagement as well as a technical briefing on the NHI draft Bill.

We know that not everyone will be supportive of this draft Bill, but it is a draft. I want to stress that. What we are asking of stakeholders is to provide the Secretariat with tangible and constructive feedback on how this draft can be strengthened or clarified so we can work together to develop the final version that is presented to Parliament.

In the end, our goal remains the same: we all want better and more affordable health care for ourselves and our families. We must remember that NHI Bahamas is about taking care of each other – making sure those who cannot afford health care will be able to. Those who have limited access to health care can access it easier. And ensuring we all have a choice in who provides us care and insurance.

The NHI Secretariat remains open to any and all stakeholder input and we value the contributions of each and every one of you, which is why we are so committed to open communication.

The full text of the draft Bill is available on nhibahamas.gov.bs and comments can be sent to the Secretariat office or emailed to info@nhibahamas.gov.bs. You can also connect with us in person as we fan out across our archipelago and host community meetings and other small presentation. We will also seek to schedule meetings with all key stakeholder group to specifically discuss the bill.

Dr. Brennen will provide more information on that now.

Thank you

Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager

Thank you, Permanent Secretary.

As a medical doctor in pediatric emergency medicine, on a daily basis, I see the struggles everyday ordinary Bahamians go through to get care for themselves and their families.

I see pregnant women, unable to afford an ultrasound. I see men, avoiding going to the doctor and getting their heart and blood pressure checked for fear it will cost them their month’s salary. I see grandmothers with diabetes, on a small pension budget, waiting and saving their money for treatment. I see mothers unable to afford antibiotics for their sick children. These are all people we know in our communities because over 200,000 of us do not have health insurance.

National Health Insurance Bahamas will change all of this.

Legal Bahamian residents will have access to health care, free of charge at point of care.

The young woman will receive an ultrasound and care get for her newborn baby without having to pay for it. The construction worker will have tests done to screen for heart disease at no cost. The mother will get antibiotics from her primary care doctor free of cost. We will all benefit from the services NHI Bahamas provides – and with no new tax to pay for it in the initial phases.

In the last few weeks, we have visited and spoken to people like those I have just mentioned in Nassau and Grand Bahama. We have heard their concerns and listened to their stories. We want to continue to consult with Bahamians and continue the conversation, and will be travelling across the country to discuss the importance of NHI and how it will make your life better.

Community meetings will be held weekly throughout February, March and April in the following islands:

  • New Providence
  • Grand Bahama
  • Abaco
  • Exuma
  • Eleuthera
  • Andros
  • San Salvador
  • Spanish Wells
  • Harbour Island
  • Cat Island
  • Long Island
  • Berry Islands
  • Bimini
  • Acklins
  • Inagua
  • Mayaguana
  • Crooked Island
  • Rum Cay

A complete listing of dates and times for public meetings is available on nhibahamas.gov.bs and on NHI Bahamas social media channels. We will also be printing and distributing flyers with event details in the next few days.

Additionally, and given the important milestone of releasing the NHI draft Bill today, we will be continuing to meet with stakeholders and will be contacting them to schedule meetings to specifically focus on the legislation.

Technical working groups, including with stakeholders will also be convened to help draft the regulations that will accompany the final Bill. We will be reaching out to the physician groups, health councils, unions, pharmacists, the BIA, Chambers of Commerce, and civic organizations including the Christian council and many others.

This is important as we highlight the benefits of this modern, affordable, accessible National Health Insurance programme.

We invite organizations across The Bahamas to contact us at 502-7601 or email at info@nhibahamas.gov,bs so that we can schedule meetings with your organization.

Thank you and my colleague Damara Dillett will now provide some technical information on the Bill itself.

Damara Dillett, Legal Counsel

Thank you, Dr. Brennen

The Government of The Bahamas has made its position clear. The public and stakeholder community must have an opportunity to review the draft legislation for National Health Insurance as well as have the opportunity to give commentary and recommend changes before the draft bill is presented to Parliament.

It is important that we have the best possible legislation to govern NHI Bahamas and enable the programme to work as intended to provide all of us better and more affordable health care.

The draft Bill includes necessary provisions to legally establish the NHI Bahamas plan, the creation of a National Health Insurance Authority and the National Health Insurance Fund. Additionally, the Bill amongst other things speaks to the functions and powers of the NHIA, persons eligible to enrol, criteria for healthcare providers and regulated health administrators seeking to participate in the plan, confidentiality, and collaboration.

The NHI draft legislation is a legal and regulatory framework that ensures NHI Bahamas provides modern, affordable and accessible health care for legal Bahamian residents.

The Bill, in its draft form, will:

Repeal the NHI Act of 2007;
Implement the NHI Bahamas plan;
Establish the legal and regulatory framework for NHI Bahamas; and
Establish the NHI Bahamas fund;
The NHI Bill will allow the Government to:

Establish the administrative framework and other necessary mechanisms to provide quality health care under NHI Bahamas that is modern, affordable and accessible for legal Bahamian residents;
Facilitate people-centred health care that meets the needs of our population;
Provide plurality with equal opportunity for public and private sector participation;
Promote efficiency in administrative operations; and
Enable sustainability through the appropriate allocation of resources.
The Bill sets out the substantive provisions necessary for the implementation of the NHI Plan. It is intended that the details and particulars will be enshrined in accompanying regulations.

It is necessary for full stakeholder participation in the drafting of regulations and the NHI Secretariat is committed to formulating technical working groups in order to achieve this objective.

A draft of the National Health Insurance Bill is now released by the National Health Secretariat for public consultation.

In this regard, the Government of The Bahamas seeks the comments of all persons impacted by the proposed National Health Insurance Plan so that consideration might be given to all views which might be offered in respect of the Bill, prior to the same being debated in Parliament.

Comments, suggestions and advice should be forwarded in writing by hand or via email no later than the 2nd March, 2016 writing to:

The National Health Insurance Secretariat

Teachers and Salaried Workers Union Building

East Street and Purpose Way

Nassau, Bahamas

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Telephone: (242)-502-7601

These details will be available on our website at www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

Thank you, and we will now take a few questions.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 18 February 2016
Backgrounder: National Health Insurance Bahamas Draft Legislation
Backgrounder: National Health Insurance Bahamas Draft Legislation

Highlighting the important provisions of the NHI draft Bill that may impact you

The NHI Bahamas draft legislation was released to the public for comment on 18 February, 2016. The intention of the release is to allow for all members of the Bahamian community to understand how the Government of The Bahamas is making intentional strides towards providing a legal framework that safeguards Bahamians throughout the phased implementation of NHI Bahamas and beyond.

 

The Bill, in its draft form, will:

  • Repeal the NHI Act of 2007;
  • Implement the NHI Bahamas plan;
  • Establish the legal framework for NHI Bahamas;
  • Establish the NHI Bahamas fund; and
  • Provide for matters connected therewith.

The NHI Bill will allow the Government to:

  • Establish the administrative framework and other necessary mechanisms to provide quality health care under NHI Bahamas that is modern, affordable and accessible for all legal Bahamian residents;
  • Facilitate people-centred health care that meets the needs of our population;
  • Provide plurality with equal opportunity for public and private sector participation;
  • Promote efficiency in administrative operations; and
  • Enable sustainability through the appropriate allocation of resources.
  1. Information for Beneficiaries

Beneficiary: a person who is eligible and enroled to receive benefits under the plan (legal Bahamian residents).

The eligibilityenrolment and entitlement of beneficiaries is addressed primarily in Part III of the Bill.

Eligibility:

  • An eligible person must possess a valid NIB Smart Card AND they must either be a citizen of The Bahamas who has lived in the country for at least 3 months immediately before the period for enroling or is a person who, though not a Bahamian citizen, resides here lawfully and possesses the necessary legal documents from the Department of Immigration proving status.
  • If a Bahamian is a full-time student or is deployed by Government of The Bahamas to work overseas and for those reasons are not able to prove that he/she lived in the country for at least 3 months immediately before the period of enroling, he/she shall be eligible to enrol.

Enrolment:

  • Every person who has been determined to be eligible will become a beneficiary once they have enroled in the Plan. If an individual does not enrol in the plan, he/she will not be able to receive benefits under the plan. In order to receive benefits, the eligible person must enrol by selecting a provider (physician) and a regulated health administrator (insurer).
  • The provider that is selected must be a Primary Care Provider (PCP) who is approved by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). The Primary Care Provider is an entity who, at the minimum, provides primary health care services and has been approved by the NHIA to provide these benefits according to the programme.
  • The Regulated Health Administrator (RHA) will be a licensed long-term insurance company and is certified by the NHIA to act as an Administrator of the programme.
  • The RHA will primarily be responsible for the management and administration of benefits under the Plan.
  • If you, the beneficiary, for whatever reason do not select a RHA, the NHIA will make a selection on your behalf.
  • For persons who live in a long-term care establishment such as Sandilands, and Geriatric Ward, the Primary Care Provider presiding over the establishment will assist by selecting your RHA. Before making the selection, reasonable attempts will be made to seek the necessary consent of a legal guardian.
  • You may re-select your Primary Care Provider or Administrator once a year. You can also re-select if your Primary Care Provider or Administrator is no longer accessible to you, or you are having significant problems that amount to a grievance with your Administrator or Provider.

Entitlement:

  • Once enroled, you will be entitled to the benefits listed in the Second Schedule of the Bill, and may be required to make co-payments or pay contributions in the future.
  • Your benefits may be terminated where, for example, you:
    • Are no longer eligible;
    • Fail to pay any contribution;
    • Commit fraud under the Plan; or
    • Fail to consent to disclose relevant information.

 

  1. Information for Regulated Health Administrators (RHAs)

Regulated Health Administrators: a licensed long-term insurance company that is certified by the NHIA to act as an Administrator of the programme.

RHAs are governed by Part IV of the Bill.

  • RHAs are responsible for the management and administration of the benefits for beneficiaries who have chosen or been assigned to that RHA.
  • An RHA must have prior registration as a long-term insurance business and certification by the Insurance Commission, among other requirements, in order to be eligible to participate in the Plan.
  • A participating RHA is also required to enter into an agreement with the Authority.
  • Other key functions of RHAs include:
    • The payment of Providers for the benefits rendered to beneficiaries;
    • Processing of claims and providing prior authorization for referrals where necessary; and
    • Case management to improve health outcomes in a cost effective manner.
  • Your organization’s participation may be terminated by the NHIA for certain acts or omissions including:
    • Fraud;
    • Failure to disclose information requested by the Authority;
    • Failure to meet quality assurance or standards of care requirements;
    • Failure to provide appropriate benefits to beneficiaries;
    • Disclosure of confidential data; or
    • Failure to protect confidential data or breaching of the agreement.
  • Your organization may withdraw its participation under the programme with notice to the Authority.
  • A Regulated Health Administrator is required to maintain records created in the management and administration of the programme.

 

  1. Information for Health Care Providers

Health Care Provider: a health professional that provides care for your overall well-being.

Health Care Providers are governed by Part IV of the Bill.

  • As a Provider wishing to participate in the Plan, you and your facility or business, must be in compliance with the requirements of your relevant professional licensing body.
  • You must also enter into an Agreement with the Authority.
  • Providers are responsible for:
    • Provision of benefits to beneficiaries;
    • Provision of information that an Administrator or the Authority may require; and
    • Any other functions as may be prescribed by regulations.
  • Providers will also be accountable to the Authority for implementing and upholding the quality of care as established by the Authority.
  • Providers are under a duty to submit reports to the Authority on the administration and management of the Plan as well as Provider and beneficiary satisfaction reports.
  • A Provider is required to maintain records of the benefits rendered under the Plan.
  • A Provider may withdraw its participation under the Plan with notice.
  • A Provider’s participation may be terminated by the Authority for certain acts or omissions including, fraud, failure to disclose information requested by the Authority, failure to comply with an inspector’s recommendations, failure to meet quality assurance standards or quality of care requirements, failure to provide benefits, discloses or fails to protect confidential information or breaches the agreement.
  1. Information for Employers

Employer: a person or organization that employs people.

  • Employers must pay the appropriate percentage of an employee’s contributions, when contributions are required.
  • Employers may also be required to provide information to the Authority.
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Nassau, The Bahamas - 18 February 2016
NHI Consultations to Be Held Across The Bahamas
NHI Consultations to Be Held Across The Bahamas

Town hall meetings across country will educate public on NHI

Today, the Government of The Bahamas released the draft legislation for National Health Insurance (NHI). To support the introduction of this legislation, public consultations regarding NHI Bahamas will continue to be held with Bahamians in Nassau and across the Family Islands to educate and engage residents about the modern, affordable and accessible healthcare system that NHI aims to bring about.

 

Building off the success of the initial consultations that were held in Nassau and Grand Bahama over the last several weeks and months, the NHI Secretariat will travel across the archipelago and discuss the importance of NHI and healthcare system strengthening with Bahamians. Consultations will be held throughout February, March and April on the following islands:

  • New Providence (February 11)
  • Grand Bahama (February 3 – February 4 / February 12)
  • Abaco (March 15)
  • Exuma (February 25)
  • Eleuthera (February 29 – March 1)
  • Andros (March 10 – March 11)
  • San Salvador (February 29)
  • Spanish Wells (March 2)
  • Harbour Island (March 2)
  • Cat Island (March 7)
  • Long Island (March 7)
  • Berry Islands (March 12)
  • Bimini (March 15)
  • Acklins (March 18)
  • Inagua (March 21)
  • Mayaguana (April 1)
  • Crooked Island (April 1)
  • Rum Cay (April 1)

The full list of island visits can be found here.

“NHI Bahamas will benefit Bahamians from across the country. That is why it is so important for us to meet with as many residents as possible to educate them on this programme,” said Permanent Secretary Peter Deveaux Isaacs. “We want to make sure Bahamians fully understand how they can benefit from the introduction of NHI Bahamas and what they need to do to register.”

Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings being held in their community to become more informed about NHI Bahamas and the benefits of the programme. Further details of these meetings will be made available closer to their respective dates.

The NHI Secretariat continues to meet with stakeholder groups regularly and will be meeting specifically to discuss the draft bill. Any group that wishes to schedule a presentation by the NHI Bahamas team may contact the Secretariat directly at 502-7601 or email info@nhibahamas.gov.bs.

For more information on NHI Bahamas, please visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.

Facebook: NHI Bahamas

Twitter: @NHIBahamas

Instagram: @NHIBahamas

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 18 February 2016
Government Releases National Health Insurance Draft Bill for Consultation
Government Releases National Health Insurance Draft Bill for Consultation

Commences country-wide community and stakeholder meetings

Today, the Government of The Bahamas released the full text of the National Health Insurance Bahamas (NHI) draft Bill to the public for consultation.

 

 

The Government of The Bahamas is committed to improving the health care system to position the nation as the healthiest country in the Caribbean region by the year 2030. One key milestone in this process is NHI Bahamas, which will provide care to legal Bahamian residents free of charge at point of service.

“A young woman will receive an ultrasound and care get for her newborn baby without having to pay for it. A construction worker will have tests done to screen for heart disease at no cost. A mother will get antibiotics from her primary care doctor for her sick children free of cost. All of these people live in our communities right now. We will all benefit from the services NHI Bahamas provides – and with no new tax to pay for it in the initial phases,” said Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI Project Manager.

The NHI draft legislation is a legal framework that ensures NHI Bahamas provides modern, affordable and accessible health care for legal Bahamian residents.

The Bill, in its draft form, will:

  • Repeal the NHI Act of 2007;
  • Implement the NHI Bahamas plan;
  • Establish the legal framework for NHI Bahamas; and
  • Establish the NHI Bahamas fund;

The NHI Bill will allow the Government to:

  • Establish the administrative framework and other necessary mechanisms to provide quality health care under NHI Bahamas that is modern, affordable and accessible for legal Bahamian residents;
  • Facilitate people-centred health care that meets the needs of our population;
  • Provide plurality with equal opportunity for public and private sector participation;
  • Promote efficiency in administrative operations; and
  • Enable sustainability through the appropriate allocation of resources.

The draft Bill was prepared by a working group comprised of technical experts within Government along with consultants in the public and private sector.

The Government is seeking comments as to how the draft legislation can be strengthened or clarified before it is debated in Parliament to protect interested parties and improve the allocation of resources designed to improve patient care.

“The Bill is draft. I want to stress that. It is very important that all stakeholders be engaged in the process. We are looking forward to hearing from interested persons and in particular the medical and insurance communities, as well as from unions and other associations. We have always affirmed that their input and participation are key for the success of NHI Bahamas. We’re confident that now, with more information on the programme and its implementation, we can move forward together towards our common goal of better health care for Bahamians,” said Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, Permanent Secretary for NHI.

The NHI Secretariat has already completed several community meetings to educate persons on NHI Bahamas. Meetings were held in Grand Bahama and New Providence over the last several months.

The Secretariat continues to host these consultations and conversations on all major islands of The Bahamas. A complete listing of dates and times for public meetings is available online on www.nhibahamas.gov.bs

Once feedback on the Bill is received, stakeholders will be able to provide additional input into the regulation preparation process.

“This Bill is part of a wider programme of improvements being made to our health system and ensuring Bahamians get the care they need. We have been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority to ensure other Health System Strengthening activities are ongoing and will continue to be the backbone for delivering better health system performance in the future,” said Dr. Brennen.

Bahamians have already started registering for their National Insurance Board (NIB) Smart Card as part of Phase One of NHI Bahamas implementation. All Bahamians are encouraged to “get your card to get your care”. NIB has a number of available registration centers across The Bahamas, with additional locations added to accommodate this exercise. Individuals can call NIB for more details on registration locations at 225-5642.

Comments, suggestions and advice on the Bill should be forwarded in writing, by hand or via email no later than March 2, 2016 according to the coordinates below.

Please send comments to:

The National Health Insurance Secretariat

Teachers and Salaried Workers Union Building

East Street and Purpose Way

Nassau, The Bahamas

Email: info@nhibahamas.gov.bs

Telephone: 502-7601

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14 February 2016
NHI Secretariat holds successful meetings in Grand Bahama
NHI Secretariat holds successful meetings in Grand Bahama

Public consultations regarding National Health Insurance Bahamas continued throughout the island of Grand Bahama on Friday, February 12, to educate and engage residents about the modern, affordable and accessible healthcare system.

 

Ms. Damara Dillett, representing the NHI Bahamas Secretariat, spoke about the need for national health insurance, clarified who is eligible and outlined the benefits of primary care.  While consulting with staff members at the Ministry of Grand Bahama, Ms. Dillett confirmed who is eligible to receive NHI Bahamas benefits.  She said, “Bahamians resident in country and legal residents – no matter their income, age, island of residence or current health status – can receive health care free of cost at point of service with the NHI Bahamas plan.”

Additionally, consultations continued with staff of the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation, human resource personnel with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and Directors of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.  The conversations provided clarity.

During the consultations, individuals were advised about what to expect when NHI Bahamas is fully implemented. Private insurance holders questioned whether or not NHI Bahamas mandated that they give up their existing coverage. Ms. Dillett advised that persons had the option of keeping their private health insurance and further explained that there was no mandate for individuals to discontinue private healthcare coverage.

Residents attending town hall meetings in Eight Mile Rock and West End, listened attentively about NHI Bahamas.  They embraced the opportunity to ask questions and get more details about the registration process.  Ms. Dillett explained that the “Registration drive for the National Insurance Board (NIB) Smart Card continues at NIB locations. Individuals ought to ensure that they obtain their NIB Smart Card in order to be prepared for the enrolment.”

All residents are encouraged to attend community meetings across the country to become more informed about NHI Bahamas and the benefits of the programme. Details of these meetings will be made available to you.

The Secretariat continues to meet with stakeholder groups regularly. Any group that wishes to schedule a presentation by the NHI Bahamas team may contact the Secretariat directly at 502-7601 or email info@nhibahamas.gov.bs.

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

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 12 February 2016
The NHI Secretariat concludes a week of meetings in Nassau
The NHI Secretariat concludes a week of meetings in Nassau

The National Health Insurance Secretariat had a productive meeting with the Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) on Thursday, February 11. The group discussed outstanding issues and ways to work together to ensure NHI Bahamas works for everyone.

“We are encouraged that the BIA is willing to compromise and discuss important issues with the NHI Secretariat. In the end, we all want the same thing – modern, affordable, accessible health care for our Bahamian brothers and sisters,” said Permanent Secretary for NHI Peter Deveaux-Isaacs. “We look forward to a continued and ongoing productive dialogue with the BIA.”

Earlier this week the Secretariat met and presented to other organizations such as the Police Staff Association, the Bahamas Pharmaceutical Association and the Bahamas Christian Council.

The Secretariat also hosted a community meeting in Nassau on Thursday, February 11 at the BCPOU hall.  Dr. Delon Brennen, Project Manager for NHI and Dr. Glen S. Beneby, Chief Medical Officer were in attendance. They engaged with Bahamians who attended and also presented for the live radio broadcast on ZNS radio 1540AM Radio Bahamas, which reaches Bahamians throughout our archipelago.

Dr. Brennen delivered a short presentation outlining NHI Bahamas and the need for it, as well as what to expect going forward. Dr. Beneby provided information on ongoing Health Systems Strengthening activities throughout the country. Together, the team clarified important information regarding the implementation of NHI Bahamas.

“Over the last decade, we have doubled our spending on health,” explains Dr. Brennen. “As a result we are spending less on other things such as education, entrepreneurial aspirations and housing; but we are not getting healthier.”

Dr. Brennen explained to the attendees, media and listeners that figures show in countries with a national health care programme, out of pocket spending goes down and life expectancy goes up. He noted that even with a national health insurance plan, there is no need to give up private health insurance, but encourages all Bahamians to see, touch and feel the benefits of NHI Bahamas.

“We are looking to continue our consultation with individuals throughout The Bahamas to ensure they are educated on all that NHI Bahamas will do for them,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Issacs.

The Secretariat continues to meet with stakeholder groups regularly. Any group that wishes to schedule a presentation by the NHI Bahamas team may contact the Secretariat directly at 502-7601 or email info@nhibahamas.gov.bs.

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

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5 February 2016
The NHI Secretariat responds to the Bahamas Insurance Association
The NHI Secretariat responds to the Bahamas Insurance Association

(via the Bahamas Information Services)
Nassau, The Bahamas – February 5, 2016 – The NHI Secretariat and the Government of The Bahamas is pleased with the recent statements made by Emmanuel Komolafe, Chairman of The Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA) with regard to their willingness to compromise on their stance on the administration of National Health Insurance Bahamas.

The Secretariat has always had an open door policy when it comes to stakeholder engagement and has already engaged in discussions to meet with the BIA as early as next week. As Mr. Komolafe stated, we all support universal health care. It is through this shared goal that will enable the Government and the BIA to work together for the good of all Bahamians.

The private insurance industry is vital to the rollout and successful implementation of NHI Bahamas, and the NHI Secretariat welcomes frequent and constructive discussions with the BIA going forward.

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Nassau, The Bahamas - 25 January 2016
NHI Bahamas Marks Significant Milestones
NHI Bahamas Marks Significant Milestones

The Government of The Bahamas highlighted several significant milestones in the implementation of NHI Bahamas and the improvement of the health care system overall.

 

Peter Deveaux-Isaacs, the Permanent Secretary for National Health Insurance and Dr. Delon Brennen, NHI’s Programme Director made several announcements today, the launch of www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, a public information website, the NHI Bahamas logo, ongoing health system strengthening activities, and continued stakeholder consultation and public information sessions.

“NHI is a key initiative to building a more modern and prosperous Bahamas,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux Isaacs.

NHI Bahamas is part of a wider programme of improvements being made to the health system. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority, Health System Strengthening activities are ongoing and will continue to be the backbone for delivering better health system performance in the future. Such activities include extended public clinic hours, an appointment based system for shorter wait times, improvements to existing public clinics on all islands and many more.

“The Government of The Bahamas is committed to building a health care system that is Modern, Affordable, and Accessible, and aims to make The Bahamas the healthiest country in the Caribbean region by the year 2040. These are the values that are at the core of all planning and policy-making decisions regarding health care for Bahamians,” said the Permanent Secretary.

Approximately 70% of Bahamians – that is over 200,000 people in The Bahamas – do not have health insurance and often have to pay for health care out of their own pockets. Further, research shows that amongst people without health insurance, 32% have at some point needed medical treatment but did not seek help because they were worried about the cost.

NHI Bahamas is being phased in over several years to ensure the Government’s ability to pay for it sustainably. The five phases of NHI Bahamas include:

  • Phase 1: Registration
  • Phase 2: Enrollment
  • Phase 3: Primary Health Care Coverage
  • Phase 4: Select Catastrophic Coverage
  • Phase 5: Full Benefits Coverage

The first phase is already underway, with Bahamians starting to register for their National Insurance Board (NIB) Smart Card, which will act as their NHI card. Bahamians are encouraged to “get your card to get your care”. NIB is making a big push for registration and has a number of available registration centers, with additional locations added to accommodate this exercise. Citizens are encouraged to call NIB for more details on registration locations at 225-5642.

Once registered, Bahamians can choose to receive care from a registered and certified doctor in the private or public sector, with no difference in cost for primary care services. Those who currently have private health insurance do not have to give that up if they do not want to.

Dr. Brennen provided some examples of the primary care coverage persons will be entitled to under NHI Bahamas saying, “A pregnant mother will be able to get an ultrasound to check on her unborn child without having to pay for it. Those at risk for diabetes can have screening done free of charge. You can go to your primary care doctor for an annual checkup without having it impact your bank account.”

All health costs for primary care services will be paid for by the Government of The Bahamas through general revenue collected by the Ministry of Finance. It is estimated that this phase of NHI Bahamas will cost the Government approximately $25 million from April until June and will be tracked and forecasted each quarter thereafter based on utilization rates and cost saving. As the programme progresses, full benefits, including catastrophic coverage, will be included in NHI Bahamas.

The new NHI Bahamas logo was unveiled at the press conference. “The logo really embodies the values of NHI Bahamas. It signifies the importance of the community jointly creating a National Health Insurance programme that is modern, affordable and accessible for legal residents of The Bahamas,” said Permanent Secretary Deveaux-Isaacs.

The NHI Secretariat also launched www.nhibahamas.gov.bs, the only source for accurate and complete information on NHI Bahamas.

The website acts as a hub of information and provides important content on understanding NHI and details about what is covered, as well as addressing some of Bahamians’ most common questions regarding National Health Insurance Bahamas.

The NHI Bahamas draft legislation is also expected to be released to the Bahamian community for comment within short order. NHI Bahamas extends an invitation to all stakeholders from within the health services profession, the insurance industry and other groups, to review and provide insights on the programme, which is designed to improve patient-centered care.

The NHI Secretariat also announced that in February, NHI Bahamas will begin hosting another round of consultations and conversations within the islands of the northern Bahamas that include Abaco, Bimini and Grand Bahama. A complete listing of dates and times for public meetings will be available online.

Contact:
For more information contact the NHI Secretariat at 502-7601 or visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs

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23 January 2016
NHI Secretariat Holds Stakeholder Workshop
NHI Secretariat Holds Stakeholder Workshop

On January 23, the NHI Secretariat held a Stakeholder Workshop via satellite communication for Primary Health Care providers and specialists from the medical community. Attendees were joined by medical providers from across The Bahamas via satellite communication.

On January 23, the NHI Secretariat held a Stakeholder Workshop via satellite communication for Primary Health Care providers and specialists from the medical community. Attendees were joined by medical providers from across The Bahamas via satellite communication. Events like this workshop are key to fostering strong and collaborative engagement and hearing feedback on how we can move forward together towards our common goal of better health care for Bahamians . Watch a live stream of the event here.

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13 January 2016
NHI Bahamas: The Facts
NHI Bahamas: The Facts

(via the Bahamas Information Services)

“As we celebrate the start of the 2016 year we are also celebrating a big step towards a better health care system in The Bahamas.

The Government of The Bahamas remains committed to having a National Health Insurance programme in our country and has been working tirelessly to develop and execute the framework to make this vision a reality, for a Stronger Bahamas.

Last week, Cabinet approved the draft legislation that would provide the foundation for NHI. The legislation is undergoing final revisions together with stakeholders and it is expected that it will be released for public and further stakeholder consultation before the end of January. The Government wishes to announce that the new programme, “NHI Bahamas” will make health care throughout our archipelago Modern, Affordable, and Accessible. These are the values that are at the core of all planning and policy-making decisions regarding health care for Bahamians.

With NHI Bahamas, access to quality health services will be available to all legal Bahamian residents – no matter your age, island of residence, pre-existing health conditions or income.

So what is NHI Bahamas?

NHI Bahamas is a new national health insurance programme for The Bahamas introduced by Government. It will make our health care system more modern, affordable and accessible and is a major step to building a Stronger Bahamas. 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. The programme will be rolled out in phases. In the first phase of coverage (Primary Care), Bahamians will receive a number of health services such as prevention, visits to the doctor, and other basic health needs free of cost and with no new tax in the initial phase. Those with existing health insurance will not be required to give that up.

Why is NHI Bahamas important and how will it help Bahamians?

Improving the health care system will lead to a more modern and prosperous Bahamas. We must improve access and affordability of quality health care for our people. Currently, approximately 70% of Bahamians do not have health insurance, meaning they may have to pay for health services out of their own pockets, which is something many people cannot afford. Severe illness can be prevented often with a simple visit to the doctor. Modernizing our current health care system is essential to improving the health of our population.

Government continues Health System Strengthening (“HSS”) and has allocated $60 Million to upgrading facilities and systems. The HSS thrust is ongoing and includes extending clinic hours and opening more well equipped and staffed clinics throughout the country. HSS also includes plans for complete upgrade of the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Rand Memorial Hospital and opening mini hospitals in Islands such as Abaco and Exuma.

What’s next?

The NHI Bahamas legislation will be released for public and stakeholder comment within the next month. While this is happening, registration for NHI Bahamas will begin. The NIB has been busy preparing their systems to support registration for National Health Insurance. The registration process will begin later this month and more details will be provided in the coming days.

A NHI Bahamas website and other information sharing tools will unveiled this month to ensure Bahamians have the information they need to understand what NHI Bahamas is, the values of the new system, and how it will work.

We are a proud, strong and caring people. The historic launch of National Health Insurance Bahamas is a big step to ensuring that everyone has reasonable access to health care, assuring a bright future for all Bahamians and improving the health of our country. The Government will be providing regular updates on NHI Bahamas and what persons need to do to register.

The Government wishes all Bahamians a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.”

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