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Healthcare lectures on the NHIA budget and cost containment

The Healthcare Enhancement committee held two events (on 28 October and 9 December) that featured lectures by National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) officials to members that provided an overview of healthcare financing and public budgets for drugs and medical devices. Both events were hosted by the committee's chairwoman Irene Feng with technical support provided Bayer Healthcare.

The first event on the topic "Toward sustainable NHIA expenditure: Global budget and investments in new drugs and technology" was held on 28 October. At the event NHIA Taipei Division Director Sheen Mao-ting provided an overview of the NHIA's global budget policies and strategies in line with the goal to maintain system sustainability, public welfare and healthcare quality. He also provided a forecast of possible healthcare financing in the next few years.

As countries move toward universal health coverage, they seek the most practical ways to implement policies that determine who is covered, for what services, and for how much. Finding the most effective way to pay for priority healthcare services is a key area where practical experience on the ground often diverges greatly from theory. This is why international knowledge shared by stakeholders from Europe with their counterparts in Taiwan can be particularly useful for navigating the day-to-day challenges of setting and implementing policies.At the event many questions were raised by stakeholders and participants on the most effective way to manage Taiwan's global budget system and ensure the best results in terms of service quality.

The dynamic dialogue continued in the lecture held on 9 December on the subject "Healthcare cost containment measures", given by NHIA Senior Executive Officer, Kuo Chui-wen. The guest speaker provided an overview of the NHIA global budget policies and strategies in line with the goal to maintain system sustainability, public welfare and healthcare quality. He also provided a forecast of possible pharmaceutical price cuts in the next few years.

Efforts to rein in NHI spending have been pursued since Taiwan's national healthcare scheme was introduced 20 years ago through the imposition of tighter controls on drugs (pricing and reimbursement and price cuts through the Drug Expenditure Target mechanism), and through the implementation of measures designed to curb both demand and supply. These have included the establishment of a global budget payment system, a diagnosis-related group (DRG) flat-rate payment system, supply-side cost-containment measures, tracking waste and fraud and the implementation of a cloud-based system for medical records.

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