THE Government of Jamaica (GOJ) Health Card, which is aimed at improving the delivery of health care services to Jamaicans, is set to make its debut by this November, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson has confirmed.
"We will finalise the technical arrangements and issue the Government of Jamaica Health Card. I anticipate that we should have the health card within the next three months. This will provide valuable information on usage patterns and health care financing as well as improve coverage and access to health services," Dr Ferguson told members of the media following his presentation to the opening session of the Ministry of Health's Biennial Work Plan at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday.
Addressing the workshop, which was held to present and discuss the Ministry's biennial work plan and its collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation, Dr Ferguson said in July of this year he had made some specific requests for PAHO's assistance which were favourably received — the details of the assistance are to be worked out shortly with the local representatives.
As it relates to the card, he said PAHO would be giving technical support.
"Right now there is a lot of waste and there is the question of tracing patients. That card will give you a unique identity. It will be a broader card than the National Health Fund (NHF) card, the NHF concentrates on chronic diseases, that card will be a card for all patients and will give that unique identity," Dr Ferguson said.
The card will give patrons of public health facilities ease of access to medications on the Vital Essential and Necessary (VEN) drug list at no cost. The service will be available at public sector pharmacies and some private pharmacies. All Jamaican residents are eligible to register for the card, which will be a requirement for all persons who seek to access drugs under the Government's free health care plan.
The card would also improve the mechanism to bill private health insurance providers, as it will state whether or not the individual has health insurance.