15 years of implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW: The Health Insurance Policy truly comes into people's lives

20/04/2024 02:00 PM

On the morning of April 16, Vietnam Social Security (VSS) held an online conference to summarize the 15 years of implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW dated September 7, 2009, issued by the Secretariat on "Strengthening Health Insurance Work in the New Situation."

The conference was chaired by: Deputy Head of the Central Propaganda Department Vu Thanh Mai, Head of the Steering Committee for Summarizing Directive No. 38-CT/TW; Member of the Party Affairs Committee, VSS’ Director General Nguyen The Manh; VSS’ Deputy Director Generals Nguyen Duc Hoa.

Attending the conference at the VSS’ point were: Deputy Chairman of VSS’ Board of Management Nguyen Van Cuong; Deputy General Directors: Tran Dinh Lieu, Dao Viet Anh, Le Hung Son; representatives from the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Ministry of Health (MOH); leaders of some units under the Propaganda Committee; leaders of units under VSS, Social Insurance of the Ministry of National Defense, Social Insurance of the Ministry of Public Security. Focal points of Social Security office from provinces and cities included: representatives and leaders of provincial People's Committees, Propaganda Committees; leaders of provincial and city Social Security offices and relevant departments, district-level Social Security offices.

The delegates attend at VSS 

Engaging the entire political system

VSS’ Secretary Party and VSS’ General Director Nguyen The Manh stated at the conference that to create a significant shift in awareness and action on implementing social security policies, on September 7, 2009, General Secretariat issued Directive No. 38-CT/TW on enhancing health insurance work in the new context. After 15 years of implementation, with the involvement of the entire political system, there has been a transformation in both awareness and action in leadership, direction, and implementation of health insurance policies from central to local levels, forward the people.

The Directive No. 38-CT/TW has been carried out seriously and comprehensively by VSS from the central to local levels; 100% of Party committees, affiliated units, provincial, and district-level Social Security offices have thoroughly disseminated it to every Party member, official, civil servant, and laborer. VSS has fulfilled the tasks assigned by the Secretariat under Directive No. 38-CT/TW, including: Enhancing the understanding of Party committees, authorities, employers, healthcare facilities, and participants regarding the position, role, and significance of health insurance; Organizing synchronized and effective implementation of health insurance policies; Innovating information dissemination and propaganda on health insurance.

Specifically, in the work of building institutions, legal policies to institutionalize the Directive: With its role as the organization responsible for implementing social security policies (social, health and unemployment insurance), VSS clearly identifies the shortcomings and inadequacies in practice. Therefore, VSS regularly and proactively evaluates, summarizes the implementation of policies and laws, compiles information from the local to central levels about the difficulties and shortcomings in the policy implementation process, assesses impacts, proposes, and recommends competent authorities to amend and supplement social insurance policies and laws to make them more appropriate. In addition, VSS closely coordinates with Party committees (especially the Central Propaganda Committee), ministries, agencies, political and social organizations, and media agencies from central to local levels to disseminate the Directive and health insurance policies to garner support and consensus from society throughout the process of policy development, improvement, and implementation.

Secondly, health insurance coverage has increased rapidly and sustainably: Before Directive 38 was issued in 2008, there were only 39.7 million people covered by health insurance nationwide, with a coverage rate of 46.1% of the population. By 2023, there were 93.6 million people covered by health insurance, an increase of 2.3 times compared to 2008, with a coverage rate reaching 93.35% of the population.

Thirdly, health insurance examination and treatment: Every year, there are on average over 150 million healthcare visits covered by health insurance, with the health insurance fund paying over 100 trillion VND. In 2023, there were over 174 million healthcare visits covered by health insurance. The healthcare system covered by health insurance is well-organized from central to local levels, including both public and private healthcare facilities, which have facilitated access to healthcare services for those with health insurance cards holders.

Fourthly, medical review, inspection, and examination work have undergone fundamental changes in contributing to improving the quality and efficiency of managing the use of the health insurance fund. Specifically, VSS directs provincial and municipal Social Security offices to coordinate with local departments, boards, and sectors to implement comprehensive measures to prevent abuse and misuse of the health insurance fund, thereby protecting the rights of health insurance participants. This led to the swift and timely detection of cases of abuse or improper use of the health insurance fund, contributing to reducing health insurance expenditures by billions of VND.

The Secretary of the Party Affairs Committee and Director General of VSS, Nguyen The Manh, delivers a speech at the conference

Fifthly, the application of information technology; Administrative procedure reform (APR); digital transformation: Currently, citizens can utilize multiple platforms when seeking medical treatment using their Citizen Identity Cards (CID), the VssID – Digital VSS application, and the electronic identification application VNeID. With the implementation of healthcare services using CID, the insured individuals only need to use their CID to undergo medical procedures, simplifying the process and saving time for both patients and healthcare workers, while also saving costs for printing and issuing health insurance cards. Additionally, VSS is experimenting with biometric verification on CID with embedded chips for healthcare services. This helps enhance the effectiveness of state management in healthcare services, better ensuring the rights of participants.

“These achievements in healthcare policy are not solely attributed to VSS but are also the result of the entire political system and the determined efforts of all levels of Party committees, authorities, political and social organizations, from central to local levels. On behalf of the Party Affairs Committee and VSS’ leaders, I sincerely thank the leadership of the Central Committees, Ministries, Departments, and International Organizations in Vietnam for their attention and support VSS to effectively implement healthcare policies,” shared Director General Nguyen The Manh.

Continuing to improve healthcare policies; increasing coverage and participant rights

At the conference, leaders of ministries, sectors, and localities, as well as provincial and municipal Social Security office, delivered speeches clarifying further the outcomes of implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW at their respective localities and units. This affirms that Directive No. 38-CT/TW of the Party Central Committee is a major guideline that has changed and significantly improved the awareness and actions of Party members, officials, and people at all levels and in all sectors in implementing healthcare policies, particularly healthcare policies and social welfare policies nationwide. After 15 years of implementation, with the engagement of the entire political system, healthcare policies have become integrated into people's lives and have yielded positive results.

However, alongside the achievements, there are still some difficulties and limitations in the implementation process, such as: Some Steering Committees for implementing Social Security policies at various levels in certain provinces and cities have not been decisive in leading and directing tasks related to the implementation of Social Security laws and policies in general, and in developing participants' healthcare policies in particular; they still consider Social Security tasks as the sole responsibility of VSS. Local budgets have not been allocated to support additional health insurance premiums payment for some participants, such as those belonging to near-poor households, households engaged in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and craft professions with average living standards... The revision of policies and laws related to health insurance, besides ensuring overall consistency, currently lacks flexibility and adaptation to specific target groups and socio-economic conditions of each period. The coordination between Social Security offices, Departments of Health, and healthcare facilities providing health insurance services in managing the use of health insurance funds is still limited; health insurance funds at some healthcare facilities have not been used effectively, causing waste...

Therefore, at the conference, delegates made many proposals and recommendations to continue comprehensively and successfully implement the goals and tasks set forth in Directive No. 38-CT/TW. Among these proposals, the Central Party Committee is suggested to consider issuing new documents to further promote the work of health insurance to adapt to the new situation. The National Assembly is urged to strengthen the supervision of the implementation of health insurance laws at localities and businesses; to amend, supplement, and adjust legal provisions on health insurance, especially amending the Health Insurance Law to align with the spirit of Directive No. 38-CT/TW and the Resolutions of the Central Party Committee, ensuring the principles of community, sharing, and fairness in health insurance coverage. The Government continues to assign targets for the expansion of health insurance participants and annual health insurance expenditure estimates as socio-economic indicators for localities; issuing disciplinary measures for cases where healthcare facilities violate health insurance contracts...

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Head of the Central Committee's Propaganda Department Vũ Thanh Mai summarized the major, outstanding results in implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW over the past 15 years. He emphasized that these results have affirmed that health insurance policies have truly contributed to ensuring social security and fairness in healthcare for the people, and the health insurance fund has become an important financial source for healthcare, improving the quality of life.

"On behalf of the leader of the Central Committee's Propaganda Department and the Steering Committee for summarizing 15 years of implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW, I would like to congratulate the achievements of the Party's leadership and the VSS sector in implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW over the past time. The Central Committee's Propaganda Department acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of the Party's leadership, officials, and employees of all levels of the VSS offices; the close coordination of the VSS sector with various sectors and levels of government from the central to the local in implementing this Directive," said Comrade Vũ Thanh Mai.

At the conference, Deputy Head of the Central Committee's Propaganda Department Vũ Thanh Mai, Head of the Steering Committee for summarizing Directive No. 38-CT/TW, makes a speech

In the upcoming time, Comrade Vũ Thanh Mai proposed that the Party Central Committee and all officials and employees of the VSS should leverage the achieved results, overcome the identified limitations, and continue to strengthen communication efforts. They should closely coordinate with the Central Propaganda Department and propaganda committees at all levels to thoroughly disseminate and raise awareness among individuals, businesses, and households about the role and importance of the health insurance policy (HI). This aims to ensure that everyone understands the practical benefits of in HI participatation, thereby fostering voluntary and conscious participation.

Secondly, there should be continued efforts to enhance inspection and supervision of the implementation of HI regulations and policies at agencies, units, and enterprises. Prompt detection and strict handling of violations are essential.

Thirdly, close collaboration with the health sector to improve service quality and safeguard the rights of HI participants should be prioritized. Simultaneously, efforts should be made to promote a culture of thrift and prevent waste in the utilization of HI funds.

Fourthly, VSS industry at all levels should proactively research and advise Party committees and authorities on HI-related tasks. They should propose solutions to address difficulties and accelerate the nationwide implementation of HI. Furthermore, they should study and propose amendments and supplements to improve HI-related policies and laws, enhance administrative procedure reform, and maximize the effective application of information technology and digital transformation in HI management to prevent abuse and waste of HI funds.

Comrade Vũ Thanh Mai also suggested that the Propaganda Committees of Provincial Party Committees should continue to closely coordinate with VSS agencies and provincial Departments of Health in implementing directives and resolutions issued by the Central Committee regarding HI policies. They should provide recommendations for provincial Party Committees to guide the achievement of targets related to HI coverage, striving to achieve a 95% coverage rate by 2025.

Concluding the conference, Nguyen Duc Hoa, Party Committee Member and VSS’ Deputy General Director, on behalf of VSS’ Party Committee, expressed sincere gratitude for the guidance from the Party Central Committee, the support and facilitation from Party committees at all levels, and the cooperation of relevant ministries and sectors in implementing Directive No. 38-CT/TW. He emphasized their significant contribution to VSS in meeting the targets and objectives assigned by the Party, the National Assembly, and the Government over the past 15 years. In the next phase, the Party Committee of VSS hopes to continue receiving more attention, coordination, support, and facilitation to fulfill its responsibilities in implementing HI policies, meeting increasingly higher demands for universal health insurance, healthcare services under HI, and fund management requirements in the context of rapid and complex socio-economic changes.

Party Committee Member and Deputy General Director of VSS, Nguyen Duc Hoa, concluded the conference

To further effectively implement policies regarding health insurance, the Party Committee of VSS proposes that provincial Social Security offices proactively coordinate with local Party committees, authorities, departments, and organizations to intensify propaganda, deployment, and thorough implementation so that every citizen, enterprise, and household deeply understands the role and importance of health insurance policies. Provincial Social Security offices should enhance their advisory role so that provincial Party committees, People's Councils, and People's Committees continue to assign targets for expanding the coverage of health insurance beneficiaries down to the grassroots level, as one of the socio-economic indicators. They should also regulate the prices of healthcare services covered by health insurance to suit the local socio-economic conditions. Additionally, they should direct the Departments of Health and healthcare facilities to implement measures to effectively utilize the annual healthcare budget allocated by the Prime Minister and ensure the rights of health insurance participants./.