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A Statement from the Premier and Minister of Health, Agriculture, and Human services, Dr. The Hon. Rufus W. Ewing on the National Health Insurance scheme

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Providenciales, TCI, November 28, 2016 -The National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) was established in 2009 as a Social Health Insurance Plan based on contributions from employers and employees who were legally resident in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government is also mandated to make contributions to the plan in the following way:

  1. As an employer on behalf of its employees
  2. As a subscriber on behalf of the unemployed, indigent and ward of the state
  3. Transfer of funds for the management and payment of treatment abroad cost
  4. Transfer of funds for the payment of the monthly hospital infrastructure cost

The funds collected by the National Health Insurance Board (NHIB) from its employers and subscribers are utilized to purchase health care locally from the preferred provider (TCI Hospitals), the network of contracted private primary health care clinics and private pharmacies on behalf of and to the benefit of its registered subscribers.

The NHIB on behalf of TCIG manages the procurement of overseas treatment for the beneficiaries of the NHIP. From budget year to budget year this cost is unpredictable as it is a reflection of both the number of persons requiring tertiary level care in any given year as well as the magnitude of their problems.

The cost of healthcare by the end of April 2017 is expected to exceed the budgeted provision by $6 million dollars. It is against that background that a paper prepared by the management of the board with the full knowledge of the Board of Directors, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health was submitted to cabinet for its consideration – to conclude that there was a cover-up or misappropriation of funds discovered by the acting CEO is incorrect, irresponsible and should be dismissed as political mischief.

The facts are that the treatment abroad programme has skyrocketed in the first half of the financial year amounting to over $5 million of the cost over-run. On average four patients a day are being referred abroad of which five a week are urgent referral requiring medical evacuation via private charters and air-ambulances; at the same time the number of cancer patients has been noted to have increased significantly in the first half of the year, these factors together result in an average cost per patient of around $15,000 with some patients costing in excess of $100,000. Because the NHIB until recently operated a cash basis accounting system, costs were not booked until paid.  This has now been corrected, hence the reporting of the large accounts payable balance.

A number of the more serious cases referred abroad were Turks and Caicos Islanders that were not covered by the scheme. The government takes its responsibility for the provision of its people seriously and has recently introduced changes to the NHIB regulations that would result in healthcare coverage for a wider category of patients while at the same time restricting coverage for some categories of persons which it believes should help to stabilise cost while a comprehensive review of the system is being undertaken after five years of operation.

TCIG has asked for a review of the management and corporate governance of NHIP with respect to the rising cost of overseas treatment to develop cost reduction or mitigation measures where possible without compromising care to beneficiaries of the plan. The Ministry of Health in collaboration with NHIP has already implemented several initiatives to reduce the cost of care, such as:

  1. Establishment of a free extended hours government primary care clinic
  2. Development of a new Pharmaceutical policy which would significantly lower the cost of drugs to both patients and NHIP
  3. Introduced an eligibility waiting time of 6 months for all new work permit applicants to the plan (effective December 1)
  4. Introduced a capitation on overseas care expenditure for work permit holders

The Ministry of Health will continue to implement its cost reduction strategies as outlined in the National Health Strategic Plan, the main ones of which include:

  1. Implementation of the pharmaceutical policy and plan
  2. Implementation of the Chronic Disease Action Plan
  3. Primary Health Care Renewal Strategy
  4. Development of a long term hospice care facility
  5. Expansion of existing and the Introduction of new tertiary level services at the hospitals based of overseas treatment care demands.

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TCI Red Cross Hits New Heights with 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge Success  

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June 13, 2024: PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS: The TCI Red Cross recently hosted their successful 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge, a testament to the organization’s commitment to community engagement and humanitarian efforts.

This year’s event, held at the National Stadium in Providenciales, brought together over 13 teams in a thrilling display of sportsmanship and skills. The Beaches Marlins emerged victorious, with the Amanyara Cruisers in second place and the Beaches Pirates in third.

Speaking on the event, TCI Red Cross Director Candianne Williams said, “Year after year, the Red Hot Challenge fundraiser has grown more successful, and we really could not have done it without the support we have received from our participating teams, sponsors, volunteers and supporters.”

She continued, “When we started the Red Hot Challenge series of fundraisers, our goal was not only to raise funds for the work we do here at the Red Cross but also to create an event that would bring together the community in a spirit of unity, support, and fun-filled camaraderie.”

This year’s event showcased an active lineup of exciting competitions, which included traditional favorites like arm wrestling and tug-of-war, alongside engaging challenges such as football tosses, planks, spoon relay races, egg tosses, water balloon tosses, sprint races, and soccer kicks.

Williams added, “The games were not only interactive for the participants but also fun, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Beaches Marlins on winning first place in this year’s competition, as well as the Amanyara Cruisers on their second place and the Beaches Pirates on coming in third, respectively.”

Keneisha Thompson, the Turks and Caicos Athletics Association representative, emphasized, “We commend the teams for their participation, especially as this is the only event in the TCI for sporting participants. Their dedication this year, from organizing the rules to meeting the teams and executing the event, is truly remarkable.”

The annual Red Hot Challenge stands as a cornerstone of the organization’s acclaimed ‘Red Hot’ fundraising series, serving as a pivotal event in the TCI Red Cross’s fundraising initiatives. This series has witnessed the success of two corporate sports days and two fashion extravaganzas. These events not only raise crucial funds but also foster community engagement and support for the humanitarian work of the TCI Red Cross.

Karen Whitt of the Hartling Group, who serves as Chair of the TCIRC Fundraising Committee, commended the participants, stating, “Congratulations to all of the participants; you are all winners for supporting this year’s Red Hot Challenge. The event’s success is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our community to support the vital work of the Red Cross in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

This year’s team lineup featured the Beaches Marlins, Amanyara Cruisers, Beaches Pirates, NSS Destroyers, CHHS Eagles, Waterloo Worriers, The Palms, Royal TCI Police Enforcers, Louise Garland High School, NCS, The Sands, and The Source. Proud sponsors of the team included The Strand and The Marlin Limited, with Powerade joining as the official drink sponsor of the games.

The next Red Hot Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2025, at the National Stadium on Providenciales. For more information on the TCI Red Cross and its activities, please visit their website at https://www.redcross.org.tc/ and follow their social media accounts: Turks and Caicos Red Cross on Facebook and @TCIRedcross_ on Instagram.

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EXPERIENCE TURKS AND CAICOS ROLLS OUT EXQUISTE TURKS AND CAICOS

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 13th June 2024– Experience Turks and Caicos is set to roll out a new initiative designed to promote immersive tourism in the islands.
Titled ‘Exquisite Turks and Caicos’, this immersive tourism programme, conceptualised by the Strategic Development Unit, collaborates closely with industry partners to curate and deliver on niche product offerings and services to enhance our visitors’ overall experience.
 
Focused on adding significant value in education, culture, history, eco-friendliness, entertainment, engagement, and affordability, the programme has identified priority areas through which new or existing micro and small businesses can partner. The programme targets businesses that are land-based, water-based (excluding dive and charters), and involved in the promotion of the cultural arts, nature and wildlife, gastronomy, agriculture and heritage. The goal of Exquisite Turks and Caicos is to ensure that the traveller will walk away not only having an exquisite experience, but a learned one that will be treasured always.
 
“Immersive Tourism is about creating compelling and interactive visitor experiences through strategic partnerships with local vendors. It goes beyond traditional sightseeing and offers travellers a deeper connection to the destination’s culture, history, and environment,” says Mr. Courtney Robinson, Strategic Development Manager.
 
“‘Exquisite Turks and Caicos’ is our commitment to our pillar of Inclusive Growth which ensures that everyone in the Turks and Caicos Islands benefit from the tourism industry through the enhancement of our offerings. It extends beyond the warm smiles, white sandy beaches or picturesque landscapes; it is a promise to curate and deliver on experiences that create memories, that resonate with the soul of every traveller,” he added.
 
Mr. Robinson will visit Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos and South Caicos to meet with business owners about the programme.

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Caribbean News

TCI Sport delegation visits the Cayman Islands and Barbados with key sport leaders

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TCI Sports Commission delegation traveled to the Cayman Islands and Barbados to visit with key Sport leaders. The TCI delegation included the Sports Commission Director, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, Deputy Director, Mr. Alvin Parker, and Facility Manager for Providenciales, Mr. Darian Forbes. The aim of the travel was to visit major facilities, with priorities being pool facilities, and discuss sport development strategies.

The team had the pleasure of being hosted by the Deputy Chief Officer for Sport, Dr. Dalton Walter, and the Director of Sports, Mr. Kurt Hyde in the Cayman Islands; who facilitated the facility tours and shared valuable information on Sports Development. Meetings were held with Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Joan West and Technical Director for the Cayman Islands Aquatics Sport Association, Mr. Jacky Pellerin, on the Cayman Islands’ new 50-meter and 25 meter 10 lanes Mrytha pool facility, as well as with Ms. Shakeina Bush from the National Olympic Office on National Federation development and funding opportunities. The Sports Commission delegation was also grateful for the courtesy call with the Minister of Sport for the Cayman Islands, Hon. Isaac Rankine, and the Chief Officer Ms. Teresa Echenique.

During the Barbados leg of the exploratory travel, the Sports Commission team was hosted by the Director of the National Sports Council, Mr. Neil Murrell, and the Assistant Director of Sports, Mr. Ryan Toppin. The TCI team toured the National Sport Council facilities and visited the Barbados National Olympic Association. Significant to the TCI’s plan to develop an aquatic center, the TCI Sports Commission visited the Barbados Aquatic Sport Association and met with former National Olympic Academy Director, Mr. Dave Farmer, and the President and Second Vice President of the Barbados Swim Association, Mr. Robert Armstrong and Mr. Nicholas Mathis. Insights were shared regarding swimming pool design, development and maintenance as well as pool programming strategies to ensure the growth and sustainability of swimming in the islands.

The TCI delegation also visited other stadium facilities such as Track and Field, Football and Cricket, and other major facilities in Basketball and Boxing. The TCI Sport Commission officials had great discussions with both the Cayman Islands and Barbados sports officials surrounding the development of coaches, athlete development pathways, and strengthening relationships with National Sport Governing Bodies.

Director of Sports, Mr. Jarrett Forbes, said, “We were very grateful for the hospitality and support extended by our Caribbean colleagues. Their support affirmed the commitment and unity among the Caribbean community to develop sports in the region.”

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