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Grenada signs US$1.5million contract with US healthcare company

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by Linda Straker

  • US$800,000 and US$1.5 million to complete process for implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) programme
  • Contract with Joint Independent Provider Association (JIPA) came into effect 29 October 2019
  • Introducing a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with Sustainable Development Goals 2030

Health Minister Nickolas Steele said that government is paying a USA-based firm between US$800,000 and US$1.5 million to complete the process for implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.

The contract with the Miami-based Joint Independent Provider Association (JIPA) came into effect as of 29 October 2019 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 me (UNDP) to establish the secretariat of the NHI and to undertake initial preparatory work. The decision of government to introduce a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

JIPA Network as the private healthcare company is called, is headed by Grenadian-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.

Grenada’s Minister for Health believes that 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 from the Government Information Service (GIS).

The objectives of the NHI are:

  • To improve access to and affordability of healthcare services for all Grenadians;
  • To improve the healthcare system which would lead to a healthier and more productive Grenada;
  • To protect individuals and families from financial hardships that can result from healthcare expenses and
  • To provide for a more equitable and sustainable method of financing healthcare.

JIPA’s original proposal to government was of a five-year duration for implementation, adopting three different phases with phase one and two covering a 12-month period. However, Steele explained 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 18 November,” Steele said.

Some of the expected outcomes of the contracts are:

  • Implement the NHI administrative structures
  • Development of Provider Contracts and contracting with providers
  • 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 healthcare financing models
  • Work to implement the approved mechanisms for financing.

The JIPA Network will also develop value-based managed healthcare programmes for providers and consumers of healthcare and to work in a collaborative manner with payer stakeholders to promote a centrally governed administrative system that is efficient.

“Noting that better healthcare continues to be a national priority of the New National Party administration, the minister expressed government’s willingness and readiness to lend all the necessary support to JIPA in order to make NHI, which he referred to as the “great equaliser,” a reality, and deliver improved health services for all Grenadians, especially the many who cannot always afford to go abroad to have their healthcare needs met,” said the news release.

Over the next nine months, JIPA has pledged to continue extensive consultations, and work with all sectors and stakeholders in Grenada to develop and finalise 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 needs to know that their right can be satisfied right here at home.”

The government release said that 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 to its citizens.

JIPA will “utilise a tested and proven model, which consolidates funding and organises healthcare providers and consumers into large groups, in which risks such as payment and care are shared across those groups. By doing so, better healthcare will be made much more affordable and accessible across all sectors of the Grenadian society.”

JIPA Network signed a similar contract with the BVI NHI in 2015 and in 2019 filed a lawsuit for breach of contract. Under the contract, the BVI NHI was to be provided with access to JIPA’s already established network of healthcare providers throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the United States.

The BVI NHI was to pay JIPA each time they utilised healthcare providers within the JIPA Network. According to court documents, JIPA is alleging that the BVI NHI has bypassed it and has used the companies within its network without paying JIPA the agreed fee.

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Caribbean & World

Wanted man charged for attempted noncapital murder

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by Linda Straker

  • Charged with 3 offences including attempted noncapital murder
  • Remanded to Richmond Hill Prison

Police have confirmed that Triend Charles who was wanted for questioning in connection with a shooting incident, was charged on the weekend with 3 offences including attempted noncapital murder.

He made his first appearance at the St George’s Magistrate Court on Monday, 17 February 2020 and was remanded to Richmond Hill Prison. His other charges are possession of firearm and ammunition.

The Royal Grenada Police Force in a wanted man notice said that it was seeking the assistance of the general public in locating Triend Charles, 21-year-old, Unemployed of Vendome, St George.

He is scheduled to return to court in early March.

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Caribbean & World

Missing Man: Devon Jeffrey | NOW Grenada

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Police are seeking the assistance of the general public in locating Devon Jeffrey, 30 years old of La Mode, St George.

Jeffrey was last seen on Sunday, 16 February 2020 about 5:50 pm. He is approximately 5 feet 1 inch in height, medium built and dark in complexion.

Anyone seeing Devon Jeffrey or has any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Central Police Station at 440 2245; CID at 440 3921; Police emergency at 911; police hotline at 444 1958 or the nearest police station.

Office of Commissioner of Police

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Caribbean & World

M-Power 2.0 to commence in March

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The Ministry of Youth Development, Sports, Culture and the Arts is putting systems in place to roll out M-Power 2.0 in March 2020.

The first component of the project saw the training of 500 males within varying categories. They included soft skills, certified direct skills, literacy and numeracy exposure, social care, counselling, social interactive activities, community sport, community projects and apprenticeship placement.

Each participant was registered under a constituency package, where they received a stipend allowance of $700 monthly. Further, they were also engaged in quarterly motivational meetings and updates.

Participants were also exposed to CVQ training in Computer Repairs, Property and Facilities Management, Civil Engineering, Excavator Operations, Plumbing and General Construction. Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Small Engine Repairs and Welding, also formed part of the training.

Several entities of both private and public sector, also partnered with the M-Power Project, to offer apprenticeship training. This resulted in 20 participants gaining full-time employment while several others were able to secure part-time employment. Additionally, each participant who successfully completed the project received a $2,400 grant fund. The fund targeted participants’ engagement in a small business initiative which was fully supported and supervised by the Small Business Unit of the Ministry of Youth Development.

“M-Power 2.0 will now focus on National Training Agency CVQ qualifications for the participants,’ said Project Officer at the Ministry of Youth Development, Earle Williams.

The M-Power Project is a training course conceptualised to specifically target young males aged 18-30 from ‘on-the-block’ who are unemployed.

The programme also serves as a means of empowering them to be more responsible citizens.

Ministry of Youth Development

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