Patrick Devlyn
President of the Health Commission
CCE
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CCE: The Private Sector Shares Government’s Goals

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 09:35

Q: What measures has the Mexican healthcare industry implemented to address the challenges brought by COVID-19?

A: The current situation is a great example of the private sector’s efforts to partner with the government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Alongside NGOs, we have supported both health workers and patients.

Private hospitals offered 50 percent of their beds to the public health sector, to be used for both non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients. The insurance industry almost immediately confirmed coverage of COVID-19 expenses for users and they also offered insurance coverage to healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic. Moreover, there is the initiative Juntos por la Salud (Together for Health), which brought together private sector companies, NGOs and academic institutions to donate medical supplies to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

Q: How has CCE supported the healthcare industry during the pandemic?

A: CCE’s Health Commission has served as a bridge to facilitate communication and implement initiatives for the private and public sector to work together to face the challenges resulting from COVID-19. Among key actors, tensions are high and trust is low. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already strained health system, which has been undergoing major shifts in the way things work. Interaction between regulated entities and the national regulatory authority, COFEPRIS, has been strained. The way public tenders work and the logistics models to acquire and distribute medications have changed dramatically. INSABI also considerably disrupted our way of working.

Q: How is CCE representing the interests of the healthcare industry in this difficult scenario?

A: The private sector, including healthcare players in Mexico, share the same goals the president has defined, which are transparency, guaranteed availability of medications to the population, cost savings in the acquisition of medications and complete access to quality healthcare. However, profound change creates uncertainty and anxiety within the healthcare industry. Even though companies in the sector want to adapt and realign to this new model, it is not easy for most to accomplish this in such a short period of time. CCE’s Health Commission has been a platform to constructively communicate the industry’s concerns, as well as to share experiences and best practices that can support the government to implement these initiatives successfully. In the end, tension within the system can translate into a negative impact on patients and end-users, which we must avoid.

Q: What are CCE’s main priorities regarding the healthcare industry?

A: CCE’s Health Commission, together with the 12 private-sector organizations that conform it, key allies like FunSalud, patient associations and academic institutions, agreed on a health agenda based on five main pillars. The first is the implementation of an integral public health policy on prevention to create and encourage a preventive healthcare culture. The second is to improve access to quality healthcare, which includes reinforcing first-level care and improving access to innovative medications. The third pillar is to increase investment in health and to use these resources more efficiently by improving transparency through public-private collaborations. The next pillar is recognizing the fragmented nature of Mexico’s health system. We need to move to a simpler, more efficient health system, where the private sector plays a relevant role in improving access for everyone. The last pillar is working toward national health coverage for all Mexicans, understanding our financial limitations and providing complementary access through private sector insurers.

We need to put the patient at the center of what we do, both in the public and the private sectors. We must increase effective collaboration and redirect the country’s current health trends in ways that will help our people have prosperous levels of economic development.

Q: How has the pandemic demonstrated the need for public-private alliances to grow access to healthcare?

A: There is no amount of money that can structurally resolve the extreme needs of our country’s health system. This is not because of the current administration but a result of the accumulated actions of many administrations. We need to put people, families and patients at the center of anything and everything the sector does. Having said this, the best and most effective way to have a positive impact on people most in need is clearly through increased public-private alliances.

Infrastructure, technologies and human resources from the public and private sectors are required to close the access gap to quality healthcare services. The sector is here to help provide critical services to the population and give them the opportunity to grow and to pursue and achieve their dreams. We can find many more ways to use our strengths and complement each other. CCE wants Mexico to become a country that truly provides quality of life and opportunities for economic development.

Q: How is the CCE promoting the reactivation of the economy while incorporating the necessary safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic has finally put health where it should be: as a priority to our quality of life and sustained economic development. The challenges brought by COVID-19 require people, companies and government to quickly adapt to this new normality to protect people’s lives, while helping our economy restart and grow sustainably. CCE has been a leader in pushing forward this message internally and among society. We continue to offer a helping hand to SMEs, as well as to our local and federal governments.

Q: What changes will USMCA bring to Mexico’s healthcare industry?

A: USMCA is the evolution of the greatest economic bloc in the world and one that has provided its members with increased global competitiveness. This is good for our countries and for our people. In healthcare, this means more opportunities to attract innovation, R&D, to grow our local manufacturing platform, to attract medical tourism and to increase penetration of insurance coverage. This translates to opportunities for the economy to grow and to improve quality of life.

Q: How could Mexico join the digital transformation in the healthcare sector?

A: CCE always promotes innovation and sustainable economic development. By improving the competitiveness of Mexico and its healthcare companies, we will be able to improve the quality of and timely access to healthcare services. Digital platforms, artificial intelligence and machine learning can help us leapfrog access challenges and make our national health system more efficient and effective. Technology offers great opportunities to implement and promote effective public policy in prevention, early detection and the effective administration of our infrastructure and our specialized and scarce human resources. 

 

The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) represents the interests of Mexican businesses to the government. Its Health Commission supports the interests of Mexico’s healthcare companies

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst