Sunday January 19, 2020

Could National Health Policy Bill 2017 become a new milestone in healthcare? Find out Yourself

The policy is expected to reach healthcare to all corners of the country, particularly the underserved and underprivileged

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New Delhi, March 16, 2017: The union cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to the National Health Policy Bill 2017 two years after a draft copy of the bill was circulated among stakeholders. After considering suggestions from the public, state governments and others, the new policy will replace the previous one, which was framed 15 years ago in 2002. The upcoming policy’s objective is to raise the public expenditure to the 2.5 percent of GDP with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare.

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The policy, which desires to cater healthcare services in a “guaranteed way” to all, will contemplate current and impending difficulties emerging from the constantly evolving financial, technological and epidemiological scenarios.

The policy is expected to reach healthcare to all corners of the country, particularly the underserved and underprivileged.

“National Health policy will provide free medicines and ‘assured’ health services to all and aims to reduce out of pocket health expenditure,” Health minister J P Nadda said in Lok Sabha.

This new health policy will work along the lines of Digital India. The Health Minister said that under the policy, family health card will be made which will be connected to Public Healthcare facility so that a patient’s history can be digitally accessed.

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  • The government aims in shifting focus from “sick-care” to “wellness”, by promoting prevention and well-being.
  • It aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within the golden hour.
  • * To strengthen health systems by ensuring everyone has the access to quality services and technology despite financial barriers. The policy proposes increasing access, improving quality and reducing costs. It proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in public hospitals.
  • * To focus on primary health care: The policy advocates allocating two-thirds (or more) of resources to primary care. It proposes two beds per 1,000 of the population to enable access within the golden hour (the first 60 minutes after a traumatic injury).
  • * To reduce morbidity and preventable mortality of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by advocating pre-screening.
  • * To promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative by using drugs and devices manufactured in the country.
  • * It highlights AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) as a tool for effective prevention and therapy that is safe and cost-effective. It proposes introducing Yoga in more schools and offices to promote good health.
  • * Reforming medical education.

The policy also lists quantitative targets regarding life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 by 2025, reduce Infant Mortality Rate to 28 by 2019, Under Five Mortality Rate to 23 by 2025, and maternal mortality rate (MMR) from current levels to 100 by 2020.

The series of benefits doesn’t just end here. While talking to Moneycontrol.com, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and managing director of Biocon Hospitals, said policy’s aim could become a huge driver in creating millions of jobs.

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“The policy’s aim to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population within the golden hour is addressing the opportunity for 2 million hospital beds. It will turn the hospitals into huge job creators as it will help in generating nearly 6 million jobs,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

 

 -prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

 

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Over One Third of Healthcare Costs in the U.S. Goes to Bureaucracy: Study

U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person

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The reason why administrative costs in U.S.A are so high are because the insurance companies and healthcare providers are engaged in a tug of war. Pixabay

U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person — more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds.

Over one third of all healthcare costs in the U.S. were due to insurance company overhead and provider time spent on billing, versus about 17% spent on administration in Canada, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Cutting U.S. administrative costs to the $550 per capita (in 2017 U.S. dollars) level in Canada could save more than $600 billion, the researchers say.

“The average American is paying more than $2,000 a year for useless bureaucracy,” said lead author Dr. David Himmelstein, a distinguished professor of public health at the City University of New York at Hunter College in New York City and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

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Over one third of all healthcare costs in the U.S. were due to insurance company overhead and provider time spent on billing. Pixabay

“That money could be spent for care if we had a ‘Medicare for all program’,” Himmelstein said.

To calculate the difference in administrative costs between the U.S. and Canadian systems, Himmelstein and colleagues examined Medicare filings made by hospitals and nursing homes.

For physicians, the researchers used information from surveys and census data on employment and wages to estimate costs. The Canadian data came from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and an insurance trade association.

United States vs. Canada

When the researchers broke down the 2017 per-capita health administration costs in both countries, they found that insurer overhead accounted for $844 in the U.S. versus $146 in Canada; hospital administration was $933 versus $196; nursing home, home care and hospice administration was $255 versus $123; and physicians’ insurance-related costs were $465 versus $87 They also found there had been a 3.2% increase in U.S. administrative costs since 1999, most of which was ascribed to the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid managed-care plans.

Overhead of private Medicare Advantage plans, which now cover about a third of Medicare enrollees, is six-fold higher than traditional Medicare (12.3% versus 2%), they report. That 2% is comparable to the overhead in the Canadian system.

Why are administrative costs so high in the U.S.?

It’s because the insurance companies and health care providers are engaged in a tug of war, each trying in its own way to game the system, Himmelstein said. How a patient’s treatment is coded can make a huge difference in the amount insurance companies pay. For example, Hammerstein said, if a patient comes in because of heart failure and the visit is coded as an acute exacerbation of the condition, the payment is significantly higher than if the visit is simply coded as heart failure.

More and more paperwork required

“It’s clear that healthcare costs in the U.S. have soared,” said Dr. Albert Wu, an internist and professor of health policy and management. VOA

This upcoding of patient visits has led insurance companies to require more and more paperwork backing up each diagnosis, Himmelstein said. The result is more hours that healthcare providers need to put in to deal with billing.

“(One study) looked at how many characters were included in an average physician’s note in the U.S. and in other countries,” Himmelstein pointed out. “Notes from U.S. physicians were four times longer to meet the bureaucratic requirements of the payment system.”

The new study is “the first analysis of administrative costs in the U.S. and Canada in almost 20 years,” said Dr. Albert Wu, an internist and professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. “It’s an important paper.”

‘Inefficient and wasteful’  system

“It’s clear that health costs in the U.S. have soared,” Wu said. “We’re paying for an inefficient and wasteful fee-for-services system.”

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“Some folks estimate that the U.S. would save $628 billion if administrative costs were as low as they are in Canada,” said Jamie Daw, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

“That’s a staggering amount,” Daw said in an email. “It’s more than enough to pay for all of Medicaid spending or nearly enough to cover all out-of-pocket and prescription drug spending by Americans.” (VOA)