Thursday 28 May, 2020

More NHF beneficiaries access medication in response to COVID-19

CEO of National Health Fund, Everton Anderson.

CEO of National Health Fund, Everton Anderson.

The National Health Fund (NHF) has seen a 25 per cent increase in the weekly subsidies for NHF Card beneficiaries, moving from an average of $90 million to $115 million.

This is occurring as more cardholders are making use of the 90 days’ supply of medication available under the programme, and the relaxation of rules governing the supply of certain prescription drugs, including drugs available under the Jamaica Drug for the Elderly Programme (JADEP), in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica.

According to CEO of the NHF, Everton Anderson, “In anticipation of an increased number of requests from NHF cardholders for prescription drug quantities, more than their usual 30 days’ supply, the NHF has been working with its pharmacy providers to meet beneficiary requests for increased supply of medications covered on the NHF Card and JADEP Card programme. “

Anderson said while most of the drugs on the NHF Card programme were available for 90 days’ supply, other prescription items on the NHF Card which were limited to 30 days’ supply have been increased to 90 days to facilitate the current emergency.

JADEP benefits have also been increased from 30 days’ supply to 60 days.

“In order to make it easier for processing and reduce waiting time in the pharmacy, additional changes were made on March 18, 2020, to allow beneficiaries to obtain earlier drug refills,” Anderson added.

According to the CEO, “These provisions are made as older persons and persons with underlying conditions are most susceptible to complications from COVID-19 and may seek to minimise their exposure to possible infection from the coronavirus, by limiting their visits outside of the home.”

Beneficiaries who have not yet utilised these provisions and who may wish to do so are to contact their NHF Participating Pharmacy to access increased supplies of their medication during this time.

The NHF, an agency of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, is playing a critical role in the provision of prescriptions drugs and is working with its parent Ministry and other stakeholders in the response to COVID-19 in Jamaica.


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