by Joseph Eshanokpe,
DIRECTOR-GENERAL, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Lagos Prof Lawal Babatunde Salako has accused health maintenance organisations (HMOs) of not paying hospitals regularly, urging the government to look into the matter.
He spoke at Healthcare Leaders conference organised by Medic West Africa as part of their three-day exhibition at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, which ended at the weekend.
Salako, who represented the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, said although the HMOs receive their payments directly from contributors, they do not pay on time. He said though the supervising government agency had promised to look into the matter, nothing had been done.
The National Health Insurance (NHIS) was initiated by the government as a public-private participation model to make health available to the masses. The NHIS was designed to be driven via the HMOS.
According to sources, one of the HMOs has no fewer than 155,109 enrolees from various government departments.
Salako said the health insurance scheme was the best way to go. He however lamented that the scheme, which was launched by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005, had only been embraced by the Federal Government for its workers. He advised the governors of the 36 states to embrace it. The more workers join, he said, the more money would be available for hospitals.
Participants at the event said the attitudes of the HMOs could thwart the scheme, if nothing was done.