ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, November 6, 2019 (CMC) – The government of Grenada announced, today, that it will be paying a firm, based in the United States, between US$800,000 and US$1.5 million to complete the process for implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) program.
Health Minister, Nicholas Steele, disclosed that the contract with the Miami-based Joint Independent Provider Association came into effect on October 29, and builds on the work already started by the University of the West Indies and other stakeholders.
Grenada received US$653,916 from the United Nations Development Program to establish the secretariat of the NHI and to undertake initial preparatory work.
The decision of the government to introduce a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
The JIPA Network – as the private healthcare company is called — is headed by Grenada-born and USA-trained neurologist, Dr. Kester Need.
He promises that the NHI plan will overhaul the system and sustainably address issues of cost and delivery of healthcare in Grenada.
According to Steele, the contract with JIPA, which did not go through a procurement process, according to data on the government’s procurement website, is a necessary step to overcoming many of the challenges that the healthcare system faces.
“If Grenadians can agree to JIPA’s team-based model, NHI will become a reality in the not-too-distant future, and as such, the challenges faced by a colonial system of care, will finally be addressed, for present and future generations,” he said, according to a news release .
The objectives of the NHI are: to improve access to and affordability of health care services for all Grenadians; to improve the health care system, which would lead to a healthier and more productive Grenada; to protect individuals and families from financial hardships that can result from health care expenses; and to provide for a more equitable and sustainable method of financing health care.
JIPA’s original proposal to the government was of a five-year duration for implementation, adopting three different phases, with phase one and two covering 12-month period. However, Steele explains that the contract will be for a six to nine-month duration with different components.
“All of this will be made known and better explained at the launch on November 18,” Steele said.
Some of the expected outcomes of the contracts are: implementation of the NHI administrative structures; development of provider contracts and contracting with providers; and training provided in key human resource areas, essential for NHI.
The company will also develop policies, processes, regulations and institutional aspects; support the enactment of NHI and related legislation and regulations; introduce and facilitate the development of creative health care financing models; and work to implement the approved mechanisms for financing.
Over the next nine months, JIPA has pledged to continue extensive consultations, and work with all sectors and stakeholders in Grenada, to develop and finalize the necessary benefits plans, funding models and administrative processes for the implementation of the NHI.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell, has hailed this historic agreement with JIPA as a “game-changer for the healthcare system, given the many challenges faced by that system, throughout our history”.
According to the Prime Minister, “healthcare is a right, and every Grenadian citizen need to know that their right can be satisfied, right here at home”.
The signing of the contract with JIPA makes Grenada one of only a few developing nations around the world, and in the Caribbean, to introduce a sustainable brand of National Health Insurance for its citizens.