MTaI points out concerns in the ‘National Health Protection Scheme’

The top medical association representing global MedTech firms has announced that it is organizing the 'MTaI Medtekon’ on September 20, 2018 to address outstanding issues in the government's premier healthcare flagship scheme


New Delhi: The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), a public healthcare scheme announced in Union Budget 2018-19, is likely to be launched by the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi on 15th August 2018, the 72nd Independence Day of India. The scheme aims to provide health insurance worth Rs 5 lakh per family and is expected to cover 50 crore people, or nearly 40 percent of India’s population.

Amid this backdrop, the Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI) that represents the top global medical technology companies in India has stated that there are many factors that should be considered while implementing the scheme. In a statement to press on 14th August, MTaI pointed out the key areas that require urgent attention of the government to make the NHPS successful.

According to MTaI, there are many points that require urgent resolution. Among them, the first one mentioned by it is the inclusion of medical technology as a key industry for the healthcare delivery. “The 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 recognised 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,” elaborated the statement from MTaI.

“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,” suggested MTaI.

“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 centres to provide primary care in areas where such a facility is absent,” the statement explained.

MTaI pointed out that the implementation will require a massive skill development exercise to train the healthcare professionals. The statement claimed that the MTaI members annually train 2,50,000 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,” offered the top association of global medical device companies.

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.