National Health Authority (NHA) and National Cancer Grid (NCG) today signed an MoU to develop uniform standards of patient care to battle cancer under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB – PMJAY). National Cancer Grid (NCG) is an initiative of the Government of India to create a network of cancer centres, research institutes, patient groups, and charitable institutions across India.
Owing to the multi-disciplinary nature of care required for cancer management, both NHA and NCG recognize the importance of collaborative efforts needed to strengthen delivery of cancer services under AB – PMJAY with common objectives to reduce cancer burden, ensure uniform standards of patient care towards effective and efficient patient-centric care, improve access to cancer services and ensure financial risk protection with minimum prevalence of catastrophic health spending and impoverishment.
The NCG and NHA officials met in New Delhi to discuss their new partnership on a wide range of ideas to improve cancer care in India. The main objectives of this collaboration include developing uniform standards of patient care for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer; providing specialized training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer.
NHA and NCG will jointly review existing cancer treatment packages, pricing of services, standard treatment workflows covered under AB-PMJAY, and plug-in necessary gaps to ensure enhanced quality of cancer care.
Both organisations will work on creating cancer services/package benefits based on the priority setting tenets such as evidence of efficacy, value (cost-effectiveness), low harm, demand/ burden, medical necessity, and wide availability. NCG will work closely with NHA to rationalize payment rates for different benefit packages and treatment/diagnosis plans, and also explore mechanisms to signal the right incentives to providers to ensure quality through pricing mechanisms.
Highlighting his views on this new partnership, Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY, and National Health Authority, said, “We are glad to partner with National Cancer Grid and welcome their expertise in enhancing the cancer care services provided under AB – PMJAY. We look forward to NCG’s support and expertise in enabling us to expand our service delivery network by actively encouraging its member hospitals to empanel with AB – PMJAY.”
Speaking on occasion, Prof. R A Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre, said, “Our meeting with National Health Authority has been extremely fruitful. We are partnering with NHA to establish and optimize processes and guidelines to implement top-notch standards across all levels of cancer treatment and care under AB – PMJAY.”
The MOU signing was attended by Dr. Dinesh Arora, Deputy CEO, AB – PMJAY and NHA, Prof. C.S. Pramesh, Director Tata Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Arun Gupta, Executive Director, Health Network and Quality Assurance, NHA.
Health is an important cornerstone to the Government’s vision of development, ‘Swasth Bharat, Samriddha Bharat (Healthy India, Prosperous India). An independent, autonomous body in the form of a National Health Authority (NHA) has been set up to provide the overall vision and stewardship for design, roll-out, implementation, and management of Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB – PMJAY) at the national level.
NHA is an authority (erstwhile agency) established as an attached office of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Headed by a full-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NHA is responsible for implementing the scheme across the country. It is governed by a Governing Board chaired by the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and has 11 members. Inter-alia, its functions include the formulation of PMJAY policies, development of operational guidelines, implementation mechanisms, coordination with state governments, monitoring, and oversight, among others.
Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) is the flagship scheme of Government of India that provides a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries). PM-JAY provides cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service. PM-JAY will help reduce catastrophic expenditure for hospitalizations, which impoverishes six crore people each year and will help mitigate the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes. Entitled families will be able to use the quality health services they need without facing financial hardships. When fully implemented, PM-JAY will become the world’s largest fully government-financed health assurance scheme.
The National Cancer Grid (NCG) is an initiative of the Government of India through the Department of Atomic Energy and its grant-in-aid institution, the Tata Memorial Centre, to create a network of cancer centres, research institutes, patient groups, and charitable institutions across India with the objective of developing uniform standards of patient care for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer; providing specialised training and education in oncology and facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer. Funded primarily by the Government of India through the Department of Atomic Energy, the NCG has revolutionized cancer care in India by establishing the largest cancer network in the world.