Pharmaceutical News
NHI and home care system should be integrated for an ageing society

As Taiwan is becoming an ageing society, the government has a task to find ways to fund the care system, provide sufficient manpower and to help related industries to adapt.  Dr Chen Liang-Kung, Director of the Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology of the Taipei VGH, pointed out that most elderly patients have multiple health problems.  In the future, when the home care system is up and running, the government should consider how to link it with the NHI system so that elderly patients can receive proper care after being discharged from hospitals.  
Dr Chen said that in Japan, before the implementation of the home care system, hospitals used to play the role of nursing homes; and elderly patients sometimes stayed in hospitals for over 60 days.  However, there was a few teething problems after the implementation of the home care system in Japan.  As the home care system in Taiwan is independent from the NHI system, it is important to link the two systems together.  Case management is therefore very important for the provision of integrated services.  For example, the NHIA could provide after-care for temperately disabled patients so that they don’t need to enter into the home care system. 

Tsai Shu-Ling, Deputy Minister of the NHIA, expressed that the home care system in Taiwan is similar to the design in Japan.  It is a kind of social insurance, which allows the government to collect about NT$100 billion a year.  However, it is a real challenge to link the home care system with the NHI.  Tsai said the NHIA plans to implement “payment by cases” next year, hoping the new payment mechanism can encourage hospitals to provide integrated services for patients with multiple health problems. 

Prof Arai Hidenori, Vice Superintendent of the Center for Gerontology and Social Science in Japan, expressed that under the home care system in Japan, consultation services and medical treatments are provided by professional home carers or GPs.  The authority provides financial incentives to encourage doctors to join the scheme.  The medical device industry is developing sensors and devices to help monitor elderly patients.  Some companies are even developing robots to share the work. 

Hung Shu-Hui, C.O.O of the Health Department of the United Daily News, suggested that the media has to work harder to educate the elderly to help them understand the care industry.  The services provided by charities have to be coordinated; and the NHI, home care system and related industries have to work more closely to provide integrated services for an ageing society. 

【2015-07-19/ United Daily News】