NEW DELHI: Concerned at the misuse of cancer care procedures under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana, the government has moved to rope in the services of a personalised cancer guidance system developed by top oncologists in the country.
The system, named Navya, that was developed by cancer experts at the National Cancer Grid, Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, has been allowing cancer patients and their families from across the country and even outside to get the second opinion by senior oncologists based on the reports they share.
“We are now trying to use the system to verify the line of treatment offered to cancer patients under the PMJAY, so that we know that what doctors in hospitals are prescribing for cancer patients is in line with the opinion offered by top experts,” said Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer with the National Health Authority — the agency which is responsible for running PMJAY.
“It will help hospitals and us decide there is no over or under treatment for the management of cancer under the scheme.”
Another senior official in the Authority insisted that the collaboration will make treatment more “rational and cost-effective in the long run”.
The mega health insurance scheme started by the Modi government offers cashless hospitalisation benefit up to Rs 5 lakh for about 40 crore most disadvantaged population.
Cancer packages offered are one of the costliest under the programme. Of about 55 lakh patients who have benefitted from the scheme so far, about 1 lakh have been cancer patients, data reveal.
An oncologist at the TMC said that under the Navya system, while BPL patients are guided free of cost, other patients are required to pay fee ranging from Rs 1,500-Rs 8,500.
The NHA and the TMC are still to decide how much per patient will be the cost fixed for the collaboration.
During a recent national workshop organised recently by the NHA to review the progress of the scheme, it had emerged that hospitals, mainly private ones, are offering all three usual course of treatments — chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgeries — in a large number of cancer cases, hinting at probable over-treatment to make more money.
The NHA has also asked the Indian Council of Medical Research to develop a standard treatment protocol for about 70 most utilised packages under PMJAY.