Over 1.4 crore cashless treatments provided to poor under Ayushman Bharat: Harsh Vardhan

The health minister also interacted with several officials as part of the review

Over 1.4 crore cashless treatments provided to poor under Ayushman Bharat: Harsh Vardhan

Vardhan visited the National Health Authority (NHA) to conduct a high-level review of the implementation of the flagship health protection mission and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM). Photo credit: Twitter/@drharshvardhan

New Delhi, November 26

More than 1.4 crore cashless treatments worth over Rs 17,500 crore have been provided to poor citizens under central government's Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) till date, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday.

Vardhan visited the National Health Authority (NHA) to conduct a high-level review of the implementation of the flagship health protection mission and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), a Health Ministry statement said.

The health minister also interacted with several officials as part of the review.

According to the statement, 14 hospital admissions are being registered per minute under the scheme and 24,653 hospitals (public: private = 54:46) have been empanelled.

"The National Digital Health Mission was launched under the visionary leadership of our prime minister to expand access to timely, affordable, safe healthcare for all 1.3 billion citizens, wherever they are and whenever they need.  "The NDHM will digitalize healthcare by creating a countrywide digital health ecosystem that will enable patients to store, access and consent to share their health records with doctors and health facilities of their choice," Vardhan was quoted as saying in the statement.

The minister was given a full demo of the key systems of NDHM -- HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, eHospital, Patient Health Records and Consent Manager -- by National Health Authority (NHA) CEO Indu Bhushan in the presence of senior officers of the NHA.

"Today, I reviewed NDHM and I am happy to note that in just a little over three months, the mission has made notable progress in its pilot in the six Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Ladakh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. It will soon be ready for a national rollout," Vardhan said.

"From the point of view of both the citizen and the medical practitioner, the mission is privacy and security-led and it will enable consent-based sharing of health information in the form of test reports, scans, prescriptions and diagnosis reports between patients and medicos, thereby making follow-up care seamless, secure and timely," he said.

Vardhan said that one of the most remarkable aspects of NDHM is that it takes into account the lived realities of Indians across the digital divide.  The NDHM will empower millions of citizens without smartphones or those in remote tribal areas facing connectivity issues to still avail healthcare through its offline modules, he said, according to the statement.

The NDHM is a mission to harness technology to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of healthcare delivery in India, through better access to healthcare data.  A national digital health ecosystem will be created through the provision of a wide range of data, information and infrastructure services, duly leveraging open, interoperable, standards-based digital systems, while ensuring the security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.  The NDHM seeks to create a national digital health infrastructure starting with the building of health IDs, unique identifiers for doctors and health facilities, personal health records, and telemedicine and e-pharmacy, among other components.

Reviewing the implementation of AB-PMJAY, which completed two years on September 23 this year, Vardhan said, "In these unprecedented times, I am pleased to know that more than 1.4 crore cashless treatments worth over Rs 17,500 crore have been provided to the poorest citizens under the scheme." During the height of the pandemic, Government of India has been careful to not lose focus from critical illnesses and it has ensured that all those needing essential healthcare have been provided the same, he said, adding this resulted in savings of nearly Rs 35,000 crore to the people.

"We understand that this health assurance and its delivery is a huge source of support and security for millions of families reeling under the extreme stress of serious illnesses amidst this pandemic," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

The AB-PMJAY is the government's flagship scheme that provides a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries). 

It provides cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service.

The scheme covers 1,592 procedures under various health benefit packages with defined rates. Over 24,000 hospitals and health facilities providers have been empanelled across the country to provide healthcare services to the beneficiaries. PTI 

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