At the first meeting of the Federal Health Council held March 25, Secretary Adolfo Rubinstein presented the scope of the Program to Expand Effective Health Coverage (PACES), which will start in July, replacing the Sumar Program. Among the key features of PACES are the promotion of e-health for the development of interoperable information systems and the usage of digital medical records; and quality coverage, which includes the prioritization of specific provisions of care and the introduction of a fund to treat highly complex diseases. Implementation is scheduled between 2019 and 2022.
The government plans to expand coverage to provide 67 new benefits and 13 provisions of care, which will mean a total of 700 benefits and 63 provisions of care. These cover myocardial infarction, chronic cardiovascular diseases, communicable diseases, mental health and detection of learning disorders, congenital diaphragmatic hernia and telehealth. Regarding the fund for treating highly complex diseases, PACES executive coordinator Agustina Mazzoni reported that the national government will be responsible for defining benefits and making payments based on three provisions of care: congenital cardiopathies, congenital neonatal surgical malformations and myocardial infarction, while the provinces will be responsible for providing benefits and ensuring their quality.
During the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Health also presented and analyzed other issues of the common health agenda along with ministers from across the country, among them the consolidated purchase of high-cost drugs. The national ministry reported that the last tender for cancer drugs awarded March 20 allowed for savings of $1,328 billion pesos and that it will continue to work to incorporate more provinces and health providers. In addition, it plans to advance in joint purchasing processes with other countries through the Pan American Health Organization.
Given the rise in recent years of diseases requiring high-cost treatments, the Executive branch decreed April 8 that it will allocate resources from the Solidarity Redistribution Fund to the acquisition and provision of supplies, devices and drugs that the Superintendence of Health Services determines in agreement with the health providers concerned. Also, within the framework of the agreement between PAMI and the Argentine Chamber of Medicinal Specialties (CAEMe), extended until June 30, it was agreed to raise discounts on oncological drugs with a single provider from 46 to 50%, and that price increases be progressive and in line with inflation.