HMOs express concern over plan to set up civil servants’ HMO

HMOs express concern over plan to set up civil servants’ HMO

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..Says it negates health insurance Act

…call for investigation








The operators of Health Management Organisations, have called on the Federal Government to investigate the forces behind the call for setting up a separate HMO for civil servants in the country.


The group which expressed shock over the call said it was suspicious, as it contravened the law governing health insurance in the country.


Besides, the group said the law was self explicit as it places the private sector as the driver of the scheme.


The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana recently announced plans to set up an HMO specifically for Civil Servants.


But Health and Managed Care Association of Nigeria, said the idea is illegal and it contravene the guidelines and rules guiding the Health Insurance.


According to the Spokesperson of the HMOs, Dr. Lekan Ewenla, the call by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, was a misplaced one and an abuse of office.


Ewenla said it was only the military that was allowed to float a separate HMO because it has its own hospitals and health personnel across the country.


He stressed that every other separate HMO should be deemed to be illegal.


He therefore said the permanent secretary’s latest call, though knocked back by the Minister of Health, Muhammad Pate, is a call on the government to investigate some of the abnormalities in the HMOs, like the setting up of Police HMO and NNPC HMO.


He said at a time that the government is trying to recover from its losses in doing business, and a government official wants to plunge it into another disaster.


He stressed that it is no longer government business to do business.


He said what is expected of the government is to provide the enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy.


He therefore said that the call was nothing but a distraction that should not be allowed to go uninvestigated.


He asked rhetorically, where would the permanent secretary be raising the N750 million need for the share capital from.


He said, “From the law setting up health insurance in this country, and the guidelines guiding the operations of insurance in Nigeria. It’s very clear that health insurance is a private business that is meant to be driven by private individuals, private companies. that are registered by CAC amd have fulfilled all the requirements of the law.


“For example, in this country, we have three categories of HMOs. They have City HMOs, Zonal HMOs and national HMOs. The requirement for share capital for national HMO as we speak today is N750 million.
“So if somebody in the government sleeps and wakes up and begins to think of setting up civil servants’ HMO, we should be asking that person where he gets the money from? Who are the promoters of the HMO, Who are going to be on the board of that HMO where would they set up the infrastructure that are needed to drive the national HMO.”


He likened the setting up of HMOs to setting up a bank, saying “You don’t just sleep and wake up and say you want to drive a bank, it is not done anywhere.”


He added, ” Globally, the United Nation has made it very clear, because Nigeria as a country is signatories to that treaty that for any country to develop the government must focus on providing an enabling environment for the private sector to drive the economy while the government sets up a regulatory framework and machinery. ”


He added, “The National Health Insurance Authority as a regulatory agency is meant to have accredited all the health maintenance organizations in this country that must have met the requirements, including technical knowhow. This is not a civil service business.


“So setting, up a civil service, HMO for us is an abnormal situation and whoever muted that idea sincerely should be sanctioned or should be queried by the government to know Why and the idea behind it.”


Ewenla stressed that the call does not have the backing of the law, rather it is against the law .


The union of HMOs also called on the government to investigate the setting up of Police and NNPC HMOs .


“The law establishing health insurance in Nigeria is very self-explanatory. Health insurance is a private business that is meant to be driven by private companies that are registered as limited liability companies, by CAC and that must have requested for accreditation by the National Health Insurance Authority, the regulatory agency that was set up by the federal government to regulate health insurance scheme in the country.


” And this call for the setting up of Civil Servants HMO has really brought up a lot of issues that had happened in the past because in this same industry, over the night, the police HMO came to be and we were like who are the brains behind the police HMO there was nothing like that before.


“The military HMO is justifiable because the military have their own medical facilities across the country and they have their trained doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists. So that is justifiable and recognize by the law
“But not the police HMO. This particular issue we want to implore this government and that is the presidency and the honourable minister of health
And social welfare to beam their searchlight on the existing of some HMOs like police HMO and NNPC HMO or should we allow all this to continue to fly somebody will just wake up one morning and want to set up Central Bank of Nigeria HMO and want to set up NDLEA HMO.


“That is not what this business is meant to be. Government should look into that. Whoever muted that idea sincerely speaking we also feel strongly that the government should sanction the person.


“Let him come and tell us what was the idea behind it. Also coming from the ministry of Defence, the role that the Permanent Secretary of ministry of Defence has to play will have to be explained because his not the head of service . We have had enough of impunity in this country and some of us are really bitter about people just thinking because they are Permanent Secretaries or they are in government they can come out and say anything and nothing will happened that era should be killed by this administration.”


On the excuse giving, Ewenla said he needed to back it up with facts and figures.


Let him back it up with facts and figures. There are 60 HMOs licensed by NHIA. How does he come about the failure? Has he worked in NHIA before or the ministry of health ? for him to have that knowledge.


” If there are facts and figures, let him brandish it, let him show it.


“Even if he should have that figure, he is not in the right position to come and say this is what they are going to do he doesn’t have that authority


“It’s not the government’s responsibility to step into business. By law it’s no longer government business to do business and I will also like to reiterate the fact that this administration have been insisting that the right things be done and giving adequate recognition to the private sector to drive the economy and if you look at the composition of this administration, majority of those who are driving the process are from the private sector that goes to speak volumes.”

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