More Provider Pharmacies for NHF Cards

The total number of provider pharmacies for National Health Fund (NHF) cards increased to 321 during the 2005/06 fiscal year, exceeding the target for the period, which was set at 240.
This is according to the Fund’s annual report, which was tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (March 27). It further outlined that in November 2005, the NHF made significant changes to the administration of subsidies, with the number of drugs covered increasing to nearly 900.
Some 742,049 claims were satisfied, 387,003 of which were for the Jamaica Drugs for the Elderly Programme (JADEP). NHF card claims increased by 457 per cent over the previous financial year, the document stated, while JADEP claims increased by 278 per cent, compared to the previous year.
The individual benefits programme enrolled 218,807 beneficiaries by year-end, exceeding the target of 200,000. These included NHF card beneficiaries, which saw an enrolment of 190,878 chronic illnesses. This was an average of 2.2 cases per individual, a 0.1 per cent increase over the previous period.
“Reflecting the disease profile of the population, 64 per cent of NHF card beneficiaries suffer from diabetes, hypertension and arthritis. The data on medical conditions for JADEP is not conclusive, as this is self-supported and unverified,” the report said.
Meanwhile, 43 new projects with grants amounting to $1.66 billion, were approved during the financial year, bringing the total number of projects approved at the end of the year to 86.
In addition, 21 projects valued at $68.55 million were completed during the review period, which represents a fourfold increase.
Projects were approved in all four Regional Health Authorities, the University of the West Indies, the Ministry of Health, the National Youth Service, and non-governmental organizations.
Meanwhile, the NHF also focused on the use of information technology in delivering benefits. To this end, several projects were undertaken to improve infrastructure and keep apace with the growing demand and advances in technology. This included the enhancement of the wide area network by upgrading routers. “The increase in volume of traffic between the NHF and the third party transaction processor, advanced integrated system, required this upgrade to improve response time,” the report said.
A significant activity during the year was the implementation of an administrative services only system, under contract with the National HIV/AIDS programme. The NHF uses its technological resources to process transactions for the project, and maintains records for HIV/AIDS beneficiaries on its system.

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