Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI), which represents leading research-based medical technology companies with significant investments in India, today pointed out key areas that require urgent attention of the government to make National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) a success. NHPS is a public healthcare scheme announced in Union Budget 2018-19. In the scheme the government will provide health insurance worth ₹5 lakh per family. It will cover 50 crore people, or nearly 40 percent of India’s population. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to launch the scheme on August 15, 2018, the 72nd Independence Day of India. According to MTaI, the following points require urgent resolution:
- Healthcare sector drives on four major wheels – healthcare provider (hospitals), pharmaceutical industry, medical technology (MedTech) industry and the Health Insurance industry. While the government has recognized the role of hospitals and insurance companies in implementation of NHPS, pharma and medical technology sectors have not received a reasonable acknowledgement so far. Pharma and medical technology are ingredients in healthcare. Therefore, the two sectors should be considered in all government deliberations on NHPS.
- As the successful implementation of NHPS will be a result of seamless amalgamation of all players in the healthcare value chain, the necessity of a regulator should be evaluated.
- Package rates for each healthcare process should be decided keeping the long-term sustainability of all stakeholders. The system where the cost of medical equipment is subsumed in the overall package rates may lead to supply of sub-standard devices, which may in turn deteriorate the quality of treatment under this trailblazing scheme.
- A related point is who will keep an eye on the quality of drugs and medical devices used for treatment in the scheme? Given the scale of the scheme, an appropriate mechanism to monitor the quality aspect will need to be found.
- One important component of NHPS is that the government will create 150,000 wellness centers to provide primary care in areas where such a facility is absent. This will require a massive skill development exercise to train the healthcare professionals. MTaI members annually train 250,000 healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, and primary healthcare service providers in the country and make them patient ready. These companies cover the entire spectrum of medical devices and can contribute immensely to this cause under the umbrella of MTaI.
As these points require continued discussion to finalize the intricate details, MTaI is organizing a summit entitled MTaI MedTekon 2018- MedTech Vitalizing Ayushman Bharat to be held on September 20, 2018. The summit will bring together people from the government, NITI Aayog, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturers, doctors, et. al to deliberate on the role medical technology sector can play in conjunction with other stakeholders for successful implementation of NHPS. – Medical Buyer Bureau