11 march 2013

Meeting with Deputy Prime Ministers

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Let’s say a few words on a subject that should be a constant area of our attention: children’s healthcare, specifically provision for high-tech medical treatment. It wasn’t long ago that we didn’t have many opportunities to provide this level of help. I can’t say that everything is perfect now, but we have opened many facilities in recent years that provide up-to-date high-tech treatment.  Many types of medical services are guaranteed by the mandatory medical insurance and are provided free of charge all over the country. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of that, and many people don’t even know where to go. We need to make this information available from reliable sources, so that frauds are not able to offer similar services to people. Ms Golodets (addressing Olga Golodets), please say a few words about this.

Olga Golodets: Mr Medvedev, it is true that we have developed new standards for the provision of medical services. Over 700 standards are being introduced to the system, all of which allow providing high-tech medical treatment. Currently, a review of all complicated, serious and rare diseases is being conducted. We began with the children’s healthcare programme and found diseases which to some degree or another were neglected by the national healthcare.

Someone has already mentioned that only the first course of chemotherapy had been covered by mandatory health insurance. This issue has been resolved, and all the treatment courses that patients may need will be covered by it. Exactly the same rules have been introduced for a large number of other complex disorders. For example, the installation of insulin pumps is now commonly covered using donated funds. This has become a mandatory requirement, and if a doctor believes that a child needs such a pump, the patient must have it installed at the expense of public funds. The same applies to cochlear implants and many other medical devices.

To make it easier for the funds to navigate the new rules, the Ministry of Healthcare held a meeting with major insurance funds and set up a hotline at help@rosminzdrav.ru. Similar hotlines are being organised in all Russian regions. The funds that primarily engage in supporting patients, the trustees of our major healthcare institutions, and regular citizens can use these hotlines to have their questions answered and find out whether or not a particular medical procedure is covered by their mandatory health insurance policy. We hope that this will help promote civil society in terms of streamlining our cash flow and the proper use of budgetary and donated funds for the benefit of our citizens.

Dmitry Medvedev: Please make sure that this information is available to consumers. Unfortunately, problems are rife, so keep doing what you are doing.

One other issue that is becoming more relevant with each passing day: floods. Russia is a vast country, there’s always something happening somewhere. We have seen severe aftermath of floods many times, causing major property damage and human suffering. Occasionally, irreparable damage is caused, so we need to monitor this situation very closely.

As far as I know, we have developed a special plan to mitigate flood risks. I know that icebreakers, aircraft and explosives will be used to that end and that several ministries are involved in this work. In any case, this work should be monitored by the Government. Mr Dvorkovich, tell us how this work is organised.

Arkady Dvorkovich: Flood season, which is called the spring flood, runs from March through August in different Russian regions, even though formally ...

Dmitry Medvedev: Russia is a vast country.

Arkady Dvorkovich: … they are referred to as “spring floods.” Based on the data provided by Rosgidromet and Rosvodhoz, we have identified 20 such flood-prone regions. We are forming relief teams in all such regions totalling 500,000 members. They are involved in monitoring floods and will be used to minimise risks and provide relief during floods. They have more than 100,000 units of equipment at their disposal. Together with Rostekhnadzor, Rosgidromet, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Regional Development, the Emergencies Ministry has developed a special plan. They have held corresponding conference calls and other meetings, put emergency alert systems in place and held drills in the most susceptible areas.  These drills will continue for the next several weeks. I have issued a directive to provide additional information to mayors in urban areas where the risks are the greatest. These risks are forecasted based on current information for this season depending on weather conditions this winter and soil freezing depths. There are several dozen such urban areas in Russia. We hope that we will be able to prevent flood damage this year.

We have set aside the requisite funds. We will soon begin work to soften the ice and clear water bodies from debris in the most flood-prone areas.

To sum up, the work is being performed according to the plan, which includes last year’s lessons based on presidential executive orders and Government directives. We are properly funded and we will monitor the situation on a daily basis. We regularly receive updates of the situation and I believe that this year we have good reasons to believe that all government bodies and all entities involved in this process will perform adequately and in a well-coordinated manner.

Dmitry Medvedev: Even though there are reasons to believe this, life has a way of hitting you with more than you can plan for. So, please keep tabs on things and encourage regional authorities to use the services of the federal government bodies in charge of this work. By the way, the road situation in Siberia used to be fairly difficult at one point. How are things now?

Arkady Dvorkovich: We worked on it over the weekend in the Altai Territory, the Novosibirsk Region, the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Tyva, and some other regions. Indeed, the weather was bad there with blizzards and snow drifts. Traffic restrictions were put in place on federal highways and regional roads. In other regions, special traffic rules were introduced where vehicles were escorted by police cars in order to minimise the number of traffic accidents. At present, almost all restrictions have been lifted and the traffic is back to normal. Unfortunately, we couldn’t prevent loss of life in certain regions where the primary cause was reckless driving. We did our work in full and on time. On the other hand, people drove less in these regions due to unfavourable driving conditions, so there were fewer fatal accidents than in other regions where driving conditions were good. Loss of life is terrible, so fewer accidents in these regions are hardly good news. Nevertheless, all units of the Ministry of the Interior and the Emergencies Ministry did good work in such severe weather and were able to provide quick relief during difficult traffic situations. Let me reiterate: traffic restrictions have been lifted in all regions and the situation is being constantly monitored. Snowploughs are out clearing roads in areas where blizzards are still going on. Overall, traffic has been restored and there are no major congestion points.

Dmitry Medvedev: Winter is the longest season in our country, and it’s not over yet in Siberia, much less in the Far North, so please continue this work.

All right, thank you.