24 Mar 2019: Soon, cancer specialists will look into cases of Modicare beneficiaries
As per plans, hospitals will be digitally linked to ensure patients don't have to travel long distances to seek an expert opinion.
Once implemented, the proposal will make up for the lack of oncology teams in hospitals.
Idea: Understanding the idea and how it will work
For this next step, the National Health Authority is in touch with National Cancer Grid of Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital.
The board which works through this grid deals with complex cancer cases. After NHA partners with the grid, the best treatment options will be made available to beneficiaries.
Ayushman Bharat's Deputy CEO Dinesh Arora said the talks will be finalized in another 2-3 weeks.
Fact: The plan is to improve accessibility: Arora
"We are expecting to sign an agreement with the National Cancer Grid within 2-3 weeks. This will not only improve accessibility but will also help us develop standard treatment protocols and guidelines for all type of cancers," explained Arora.
Problem: Money has been earmarked for cancer care, but problem persists
According to data, cancer makes for 30% of total tertiary cases treated under Modicare's health insurance arm- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
The Centre has earmarked Rs. 400 crore for cancer care. But the fewer number of cancer hospitals make it difficult for patients to reap benefits of the ambitious program.
The scheme was also adversely affected after few states opted out.
Data: Over 2 lakh people sought cancer treatment under PMJAY
Out of 1,574 cancer treatment facilities enlisted in the scheme, only 438 hospitals offer complete treatment like chemotherapy and radiation.
Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh are the states which provide cancer care to maximum beneficiaries.
2.2 lakh patients have sought cancer care under PMJAY until now. Out of this, 1.53 lakh were medical oncology cases and 44,479 were of radiation oncology.
Details: Cancer cases are increasing and accessible healthcare is the answer
With cancer cases becoming highly common, experts believe it is time to make its treatment accessible to masses.
"Partnering with the National Grid will enable vetting of treatment plans from across the country by the board to ensure that patients across the country are receiving the best advice," Arora added.
Notably, 50 crore people will get health cover of Rs. 5 lakh under PMJAY.