Finance Minister instructs NIS to ensure all dialysis patients receive entitled benefits

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See the full statement from the Ministry of Finance below:

 

Following complaints of persons encountering difficulties with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) in relation to reimbursements for payment of their dialysis treatments, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh Thursday met with the management of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) at the Ministry of Finance where clear instructions were given that the $600,000 Grant per annum provided by Government and announced in its 2022 Budget was an additional support for dialysis patients and should at no time be used as a basis for persons being denied their legitimate benefits from the institution.

“In Budget 2022 one of the several measures that we announced was the introduction of a $600,000 grant to persons receiving dialysis treatment. This Grant was in response to Government’s recognition of the severe challenges being faced by persons undergoing dialysis treatment and the tremendous costs associated with that treatment, including not just the dialysis treatment and the associated medication and other expenditure associated with accessing that treatment,” Dr. Singh recalled following the meeting with NIS.

The Minister then expressed his disappointment that dialysis patients were experiencing this difficulty when it should not have been the case.

“Oftentimes, patients would require dialysis treatment twice, sometimes thrice a week etc. and so recognizing this, we introduced this dialysis support programme under which every single person receiving dialysis on a regular basis will get a grant of $600,000. Having introduced the measure in Budget 2022, it  came to my notice recently that a number of persons have been having some difficulties, particularly in their interactions with the National Insurance Scheme in relation to dialysis treatment and in particular, the issue that has been raised with me is that since the introduction of the $600,000 Grant by Government to dialysis patients that some persons have been unable to access their dialysis reimbursements from the NIS, “ the Senior Finance Minister explained.

He explained further that during the meeting with NIS’s management on the matter, he provided clear instructions that the NIS discontinue this forthwith.

The Finance Minister described the situation as perverse as he noted that it was never Government’s intention.

“I made it crystal clear that Government’s $600,000 grant to dialysis patients is intended to be an additional support to dialysis patients and was never intended to result in patients being denied their NIS benefits. Apparently, what has been happening is that in some cases patients are being told that until they have utilized the $600,000 they are not being reimbursed their dialysis benefits. The intention was always by the Government to provide additional support and not to provide support -this grant- and then to take it away through another institution of the State. And so I made this very clear to the senior management of NIS that the $600,000 Grant provided by Government for dialysis treatment is additional to whatever was being enjoyed by persons who have paid their NIS over the years and who are entitled to some degree of NIS support,” Dr. Singh related.

He added further that persons who have been contributing to NIS over the years should not be penalized.

“I gave very clear instructions that they are not to use the receipt of the $600,000 grant from government by any dialysis patient as the basis for denying any person who is otherwise legitimately entitled     to support from the NIS for the purposes of dialysis. I made that very clear to them,” Minister Singh concluded.

Over the last several weeks a number of persons have written to the Minister complaining of encountering difficulties during their interactions with the NIS in relation to their dialysis treatment reimbursements. The Minister has urged any person who may be still encountering such issues to contact the Ministry of Finance where staff are available to deal with the issue.

Government continues to work aggressively to improve the quality of services delivered by State institutions such as the National Insurance Scheme.

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