Reps may indict 35 HMOs over N351 billion NHIS fund
Health minister to brief House on suspension of scheme boss Thursday
The House of Representatives may indict no fewer than 35 Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) over the usage of N351 billion disbursed by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) between 2005-2016.
Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Mr. Chike Okafor, who stated this during an interactive session with reporters yesterday in Abuja, said the committee was considering such measure since out of the 59 HMOs that received payments from the NHIS in the last 11 years, only 24 of them made their accounts available to auditing consultants appointed by his committee to ascertain exactly how much all the firms were paid.
He said the 35 HMOs have up to Wednesday this week to present their audited accounts to his committee probing into the usage of the monies to save their necks from being found culpable in the theft of the NHIS funds during the period under review in line with the principles of equity and fair-hearing.
According to him: “As we announced on the final day of the public hearing on the allegations of fraud in health insurance administration and the maltreatment of enrollees on NHIS, the committee sent auditors to Lagos State to thoroughly scrutinise the books of HMOs.
“This was done to compare the figures the NHIS said it paid HMOs overtime to what they actually received. So far, the auditors have gone through the accounts of 24 of them, with 35 of these companies yet to meet with those we sent.
“The NHIS provided us with all the documents to show how much they paid, but we cannot conclude the investigation without checking what the HMOs received and this is why we have given them till Wednesday to allow for a checking of their accounts.
“But if they don’t comply, we will be compelled to move on because we are bent on submitting our report on Thursday. The HMOs are the only parties delaying us, because like I said, NHIS has given us documents on the monies paid and we’ve also had good responses from hospitals and care-givers.”
Besides, Okafor confirmed that the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, would appear before his committee on Thursday, this week, to explain the rationale for the three-month suspension slammed on the Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was accused of wrongdoings.
in the discharge of his duties.“We have written the minister to invite him to appear before us as mandated by the House. The date given in the letter is Thursday, July 27, 2017. I have been in touch with the minister and the last time we spoke, he told me he was travelling to Ibadan on Friday for the burial of the late Executive Director of UNFPA.
“He didn’t tell me he wouldn’t be able to appear before the committee. The right procedure is for him to write the committee if he will not appear before us and as I speak with you, we haven’t received any letter from him, so, I believe we will be meeting with him on Thursday,” Okafor said.
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