Chairman of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Dr. Robin Roberts revealed yesterday that the government’s contract with lead advisory firm on National Health Insurance (NHI), KPMG, will not be renewed.
Speaking with Guardian Business yesterday on the sidelines of the Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) luncheon, Roberts said, “There is no agreement at this point in time by the board that we feel the need to renew the contract with KPMG.” Roberts said the contract is slated to end sometime in December of this year.
Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands confirmed yesterday that KPMG was made aware earlier this year that its contract would not be renewed.
“This is something that we had discussed way back in July with KPMG. So, this will come as no surprise now.” Sands told Guardian Business.
In June, Sands revealed KPMG was paid over $8.3 million between April 2016 and June 2017. The accounting firm was hired under the former Christie administration. It tested and validated that the primary care phase of the NHI scheme would cost $100 million.
Sands said that while KPMG has done a “significant amount of work and development” towards the implementation of NHI, he assured that the new board of the NHIA would be able to “get it done”.
Roberts also commented on the talent and capabilities of the NHIA’s members, asserting that he thinks it consists of “some of the best” in terms of minds and representatives.
The health minister also pointed out that since KPMG was initially engaged, the concept and budget of NHI was “dramatically different” than what it is now.
“So the idea was, without causing any disruption without the role of KPMG, seek the precious funds in NHI for clinical services parts and benefits,” Sands continued.
“In other words, if you have $40 million or $36 million, we want to maximize the amount of spend that actually goes to the direct benefit of patients.
“If you contribute a million dollars a month or $800,000 a month on consultancy services, that dramatically reduces the amount of money you have available for patient care.
“The NHI plan that was promised to the Bahamian people was never ever budgeted.
“So, when you look at the many millions of dollars spent on consultancies, that might have been reasonable if indeed we were spending $200 million or $300 million.
“But, if you don’t have $200 million or $300 million, which we don’t, then it is very difficult to rationalize expenditure that detracts value from the purpose of NHI.”