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NHF Improves Access to Health Cards

  • Written by News Jamaica source: JIS
  • Published in Health
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Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson. Past winner of the biennial Public Sector Customer Service Competition, the NHF, is striving to improve its services and to make them more accessible to customers. Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Fund (NHF), Everton Anderson. Past winner of the biennial Public Sector Customer Service Competition, the NHF, is striving to improve its services and to make them more accessible to customers.
Past winner of the biennial Public Sector Customer Service Competition, the National Health Fund (NHF), is striving to improve its services and to make them more accessible to customers.

Since winning the prizes in 2010/2011 for being the Best Implementer of the Customer Service Monitoring and Evaluation System and the Most Active Participant in the National Customer Service Programme, the entity has been constantly innovating and improving its service delivery since it was established in 2003.

In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson says a new card registration system, recently implemented, now allows beneficiaries to get their cards within 15 minutes after submitting the relevant information, such as a completed application form, a doctor’s confirmation letter about their illnesses and a valid Tax Registration Number (TRN).

A reception desk has also been established for persons who do not want to wait. They can drop off their documents and received their cards through the mail within seven days, which is the standard turnaround time to get the card.

“I think this is a major step. You can have your card within 15 minutes once the form is appropriately completed,” Mr. Anderson explains, noting that the card registration system is now fully automated.

Prior to this, delays hampered the system and it took days for the information to be vetted and the cards generated.

To increase access to pharmaceutical drugs through the Drug Serv Pharmacies, the NHF also took over three public sector pharmacies last year, taking the total of Drug Serv Pharmacies currently in operation to 13. The new Drug Serv Pharmacies are at the Bustamante, Percy Junior and the Port Maria hospitals.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anderson says the NHF has grown significantly over the past 11 years and has spent billions delivering health benefits to the Jamaican population.

“Last year we would have spent about $3.8 billion honouring over 3 million claims for over 500,000 beneficiaries,” Mr. Anderson informs.

He says a new pharmacy inventory management system has been implemented to effectively manage the stock of drugs so as to ensure broader and tighter management of the inventory across the country.

“We know where our drugs are, so we can easily move stuff around to make it available to customers,” he assures.

NHF GETS HIGH MARKS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

            A survey done in 2014 showed that the customer satisfaction rate was over 95 percent.

“We are very proud of that. Overall the concerns were minimal and whatever concerns we detected from the survey we look at them and try and establish strategies to mitigate any risks or any issues that may arise,” Vice President of Operations, NHF, Anne Logan tells JIS News.

She says most calls to the entity are enquiries on the status of health cards and how to replace them.  These are dealt with within 24 hours.

Public Information Manager, Shermaine Robotham, informs that the body keeps its customers informed about its activities and programmes through face to face meetings, print, electronic media and social media. There has also been renewed focus on various community groups and workers, including bus drivers, household helpers, fishermen and farmers to get them to participate.

In the meantime, a school wellness programme has been developed for young persons. Come September, the programme will be expanded to primary schools where screening and hearing tests will be provided.

“We want to promote healthy lifestyle because our focus is to providing medication for chronic illnesses and you get illnesses not only by the ageing process but because of a lifestyle that is not going to prevent you getting these diseases,” she adds.

The NHF currently has a ‘Work It Out Challenge’ Competition aimed at promoting healthy lifestyle.

“Last year for the first time we introduced nutrition counselling and we have continued this year due to the positive feedback we have received from the persons who entered. In the past we offered just information and how to use exercise in your daily activities to lose weight,” she states, adding that some 60 companies are participating in the competition this year.

Acting Senior Director of the Modernisation Programme Implementation Unit, Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme, Cabinet Office, Michele Gordon-Somers said the entity has shown commitment to providing a high level of customer service and satisfaction.

Apart from being ISO 9000 (International Organisation of Standard) certified, she said the NHF has been classified as a Level 4 entity, the highest designation under the National Customer Service Programme.

“It shows the commitment even from the leadership level of the NHF for service excellence that they have gone the ISO route to ensure that they are delivering a first world type quality service,” she adds.

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