In an effort to improve health outcomes for The Bahamas, the 45-day consultation period with stakeholders to discuss proposed changes to the National Health Insurance program will be extended by an additional 10 days.
The 45-day consultation period with stakeholders was launched on October 12, but the additional 10 days will provide more communities and stakeholder groups with the opportunity to share their feedback about potential ways forward for the NHI program, Dr. Robin Roberts, Chairman of the NHIA Board announced in a statement released Wednesday.
“This means that the 45-day consultation period, which was originally scheduled to be completed by December 6, 2018, will now continue until December 16, 2018,” outlined a statement issued Wednesday from the NHI Authority.
The statement outlined that the move comes after a series of successful community meetings were held in Grand Bahama, which resulted in positive feedback and meaningful dialogue about the future of NHI, and how it can be transformed to better serve the needs of Bahamians.
“NHI Bahamas is transforming to improve the health and wellbeing of all Bahamians. I am encouraged by the meaningful and productive discussions we have had with stakeholders and members of the public during the consultation period so far, and look forward to welcoming additional voices to the table by extending the deadline for consultation,” Dr. Roberts said.
“Our objective is to build an NHI program that will act as a catalyst for change in the way Bahamians experience health care, and working with communities on a path forward is exactly how we will achieve that.
“It is important that Bahamians make their voice heard and contribute to the debate on the implementation of this program as we move towards universal healthcare in The Bahamas.”
Presently, the lingering concern for many as it relates to NHI is the government’s proposed two per cent tax on wages to fund NHI. The proposed two per cent increase was announced back in October. The proposal, if implemented, expects each person to contribute $1,000 annually or $83 a month and employers will be responsible for at least 50 per cent of that payment.
In a recent interview with Eyewitness News, Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands said the government intends to view every suggestion and incorporate them into the Cabinet’s final decision. He explained that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are inviting the opinions of all stakeholders in the community before they make a final decision.
On November 15th, the NHIA will travel to Exuma to meet with local residents and stakeholders as consultations for NHI Bahamas continue. Exuma residents are encouraged to attend a community meeting on Thursday, November 15 at 6:00p.m. at the LN Coakley High School in Moss Town.
Other upcoming visits are planned for Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros, Long Island and New Providence to hear from more Bahamians and stakeholder groups on NHI Bahamas.
Based on the feedback collected during the consultation period, the NHIA will then present recommendations to the Government of The Bahamas on the way forward for NHI Bahamas.
For more information on NHI Bahamas, visit www.nhibahamas.gov.bs.