NHI Secretariat Statement

Authored by: Bahamas Information Services
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: April 14, 2016


Nassau, The Bahamas – April 14, 2016 – 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.

NHI Secretariat