costs spiraling through the roof and quality healthcare
still remaining outside the reach of the poor and needy masses, it is imperative that the healthcare
sector be accorded ‘industry’ status. The tag will not only incentivise domestic players to manufacture medical equipment
indigenously with an emphasis on technological advancements and a well-heeled distribution network but also reduce costs considerably down the supply chain, benefiting the end-user.
Presently, a majority of the technology that is used to produce the products and equipment in the healthcare
sector is imported which exerts an upward pressure on costs, the burden of which has to be borne by the payer of these services.
The upcoming budget
should make it a priority to make healthcare
services affordable to all sections of the society by exempting tax on expenditure incurred for preventive health check-ups and premiums on health insurance for self and immediate family. In order to proliferate healthcare
establishments in the hinterlands of the country and reduce the demand-supply gap in rural, tier-I and tier-II towns with an onus on making healthcare
services widely accessible to the weakest sections of the populations, the government should increase the tax exemption window on all new healthcare
centres to 7 years.
For all medical post graduates who prove that they have been working in rural areas immediately after the completion of their PG training, the government should declare their income as tax-free for 5 years. To plug the lacunae in the demand and supply gap with respect to healthcare
professionals, there is an urgent need to increase the number of post graduate seats in government medical colleges which has no dearth of patients.
A majority of non-corporate private entities such as nursing homes and smaller hospitals which are run by doctors-turned-entrepreneurs as profit generating enterprises and largely remain unregulated in terms of infrastructure facilities, competence standards and accountability of medical practice need to be brought by the government within the gambit of regulatory framework.
Communication is the name of the game and modern medical education should emphasise on developing communication skills which come in handy during interactions with patients and their relatives and aid in easing treatment delivery mechanisms. Training modules must be formulated for imparting finance and investment knowledge to practicing medical professionals to facilitate improved tax compliance.
should also focus on developing a Single-Window Clearance system with clearly defined turnaround time (TAT) for new entrepreneurs wanting to set up new healthcare
projects. Emphasis needs to be placed on developing India as a major healthcare
outsourcing hub for international patients and the medical tourism industry in the country needs to be promoted by placing effective regulations in place which will deter unscrupulous elements and hospitals from tarnishing India’s image as a favored medical services destination.
Developing a ‘Mobile App’ would establish a clear communication channel for patients in OPD and IPD whose feedback could help in providing better facilities and services in government sector hospitals.
Priority should be accorded to developing standard Electronic Medical Records
(EMR) reporting requirements on a Pan-India basis to ensure the compilation of authentic data and use it to improve our healthcare
delivery systems rather than following data from the western world. Government-operated tertiary care hospitals need to be subjected to quarterly review mechanisms with defined performance parameters.