Dr Younis Kazim Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Mandatory health insurance in Dubai is going to be reviewed and will include mental health treatment and rehabilitation of debilitating physical and neurological conditions, a top official said on Monday.

Dr Younis Al Kazim, CEO of newly formed Dubai Health Care Corporation (DHC). said: “Many a time patients especially that of stroke require more than a few weeks of rehabilitative care. We are working to include longer period of rehabilitation sessions in the health insurance package.”

Mental health issues which were so far not covered in insurance will be soon included. “Mental health is going to be part of the public health strategy. We cannot ignore it as it is important in providing stability to an individual at home and at the workplace. Many a time, patients from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) who may have suffered a cardiac episode or a poly trauma case, get affected psychologically living in the fear of losing life.

So much so that he or she after a long period of separation from family is unable to reconnect emotionally. We have had several cases of patients going into depression once they were discharged, making it difficult for them to reintegrate into the community and be productive. Now we are working to have mental health included in health insurance. The patients will receive psychological counselling along with other ongoing treatments.”

However, the move will push up insurance premiums. “It’s a welfare initiative by the government to make health care insurance inclusive and available to all residents and expatriates alike. However, it remains to be seen who will bear the expenses of expanding the purview of the insurance coverage,” a top insurance consultant told Gulf News.

Cancer Centre

Also, by 2020, a cancer centre of excellence will be open at the Dubai Hospital. The Dubai Oncology Research Centrel will cater to both adult and paediatric cancers. But it would focus on four kinds of cancer – breast, colon, lung and prostate. The centre will also have a state-of-the-art bone-marrow transplant division that will cater to 700 patients in its first phase, and by 2027 have the capacity to cater to 4000 patients.

Other projects of DHC to be implemented within 2020

• Cardiology Centre of excellence at Rashid Hospital by 2019

• Smart pharmacies initiative by 2019 that will link patients through Electronic Medical Record to their consultation and provide E-prescriptions that may be delivered directly to their doorstep. This will eliminate misuse of prescription medication as well as regular medication. The DHA is working on the feasibility of delivering the medicines.

• DHC is working with the Community Development Authority on a number of inclusive projects for people of determination to make the city more disabled-friendly by 2020

• DHC is working on cutting down waiting time at hospitals and clinics. Authorities are studying the no show patient figures that usually arrive late for appointments and cause interminable delays for others. Those found missing appointments two times will be asked to make a fresh appointment through the system.

• Providing world class specialists and surgeons long term visas for six months to a year to provide world class surgical and medical care. The project will first cover Emirati patients who travel abroad for treatment and consultations and procedures, and will be extended to expatriates as well.