Hospitals, clinics told to upgrade services

April 17, 2014 - 4:50:51 am
Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali (right), acting CEO, NHIC, and Khalifa Saleh Al Haroon, Founder and CEO, I Love Qatar, at the press conference yesterday. Abdul Basit

DOHA: With the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) preparing to launch the second phase of the re-branded National Health Insurance Scheme on April 30, a senior SCH official has asked hospitals and clinics to upgrade themselves to meet the requirements of the scheme.

The SCH yesterday announced re-branding of the scheme under the name Seha, meaning “health”. The second phase will cover all Qatari nationals of all ages, both men and women, Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, Acting CEO of the National Health insurance Company, told a news conference yesterday.

Seha also launched its services on the social networking sites yesterday. Citing a public survey on the first phase of the scheme, the official claimed that majority of the beneficiaries were satisfied with the services.

He said more hospitals and clinics will join the provider network in the second phase. There is no compulsion on hospitals and clinics to join the scheme, but once they have joined, they will have to abide by the rules and regulations.

When pointed out that some hospitals and clinics were complaining about a low fee structure under the scheme, the official said all financial expenditures were taken into account when the fee structure was finalised. 

“From the cost of the land of the hospital or clinic to the payroll of the staff have been taken into consideration. They (hospitals and clinics) agreed to the fees and joined, after that they can’t complain.  Joining the providers’ network is not something we force, it’s optional,” he said. 

Phase one of the scheme was launched in July last year, covering Qatari females aged 12 and above for gynaecology, obstetrics, maternity and related women’s health conditions.

The Women’s Hospital, Al Emadi Hospital, Al Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic, Al Wakra Hospital, Al Khor Hospital, the Cuban Hospital and Al Hayat Medical Centre were providing the service during the first phase of the scheme.  

The official said some providers had received high number of patients and that was a challenge during the first phase. “Some providers complained of a rush during the implementation of the first phase. We had already informed them that many people would come, may be they were not prepared and faced some difficulty,” he said. 

“Sometimes they (the patients) had to wait long to get an appointment. It is due to the appointment system. If it had taken five to six hours for a certain process in the past, now we can’t expect it to happen in ten minutes.  But if there is a rush then it’s the responsibility of the provider to handle the situation,” he added.

In the second phase, the scheme will provide comprehensive health insurance coverage  for inpatient and  out patient services including preventative care, emergency treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, long-term care, radiology, ophthalmology, laboratory testing and prescription medicines. 

“There is no need for registration for the insurance scheme. Any Qatari national can walk into a hospital or clinic which is within the network and submit the ID and access the services,” said Faleh Hussain.

“Majority of services are covered in the second phase with the exception of plastic surgery. The National Health Insurance Company will announce the new list of providers next week before the second stage of the scheme starts to get implemented,” he added. 

Seha yesterday started its Facebook page and Twitter account for people to access information about the service. Public can contact and interact on its Facebook page ‘SehaQatar’ and follow Twitter on @SehaQatar. 

“We are launching a presence on social media to better communicate with scheme members, to answer any queries people may have and to keep the public informed and updated about the scheme and its services,” said  Hussain Ali. 

Initial results of a survey by Qatar Statistic Authority on behalf of National Health Insurance Company to measure patient satisfaction during implementation of phase one was presented at the press conference.

According to 84 percent of respondents, services have met or exceeded their expectations. A majority of 90 percent respondents appreciated benefits under the scheme. And 84 percent said the scheme offered them greater freedom of choice when seeking healthcare. 

Four-fifths of respondents (around 79 percent) said the hospital experience were good. Around 90 percent said their interaction with the scheme through Seha call centre were satisfying, while 87 percent agreed that their interaction with the scheme’s information booths in hospitals were helpful. 

The Peninsula