Only 2,132 availed or being treated for COVID-19 under AB-PMJAY

AB-PMJAY is a cashless/paperless healthcare access service for the poor and vulnerable families

Only 2,132 people have availed or are now undergoing treatment for COVID-19 under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), India’s cashless/paperless healthcare access service for the poor and vulnerable families, at a time when India has over a lakh cases, according to figures released AB-PMJAY on Wednesday.

Also read: Fall in key treatment categories

Testing for and treatment of COVID-19 is free under AB-PMJAY for all its 53 crore beneficiaries. It is the flagship scheme of the Union government that provides a health cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh a family a year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, and on Wednesday, it crossed a crore treatment (for various listed diseases, including COVID-19), worth approximately Rs. 13,412 crore offered. The programme was launched in September, 2018.

“The National Health Authority (NHA), mandated to implement AB PM-JAY and for COVID-19, has focused on how to get the private sector more actively involved in offering treatment for both COVID-19 as well as non-COVID-19 health conditions,’’ said AB-PMJAY.

It added that to increase the number of hospitals providing COVID-19 treatment and to ensure continued treatment such as haemodialysis, cardiovascular procedures, and chemotherapy for non-COVID-19 critical illnesses, the NHA had started an express empanelment mechanism with less stringent criteria for temporary empanelment of hospitals in March this year, when COVID-19 cases started rising in the country.

As per information released by AB-PMJAY, among the 21,565 hospitals empanelled under it — more than 1,385 have been empanelled since 1 April 2020. Out of this, 1,310 are through the regular empanelment route and the remaining 75 under express empanelment. Of the total new hospitals onboarded, nearly 58% per cent are private ones.

Also read: Centre launches empanelment process to bring more private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat

Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, AB PM-JAY and NHA, said: “We have also supported COVID-19 preparedness and response in the form of managing the national COVID-19 helpline 1075 besides strengthening our network of hospitals and service capabilities to ensure continued service delivery to non-COVID-19 patients under the scheme.’’

The NHA’s state of the art call centre was also being used as COVID-19 helpline. More than 600-700 dedicated agents were answering calls round the clock, he added.

“The NHA has made calls to disseminate precaution advisory to beneficiaries of AB PM-JAY who are at higher risk of contracting and mortality due to COVID-19, including those above 60 years of age and have recently received treatment under PMJAY or those having comorbidities. This data gathered will also be used to strengthen the government’s efforts at identifying such potential cases and ensure optimal utilization of testing facilities and resources,’’ noted a release issued by the group.

It said that while supporting ‘Aarogya Setu’ mobile application, the NHA had been making outbound calls through its call centre to people who have come in close proximity to COVID-19 positive patients, as identified through the app, and people who have reported COVID-19-like symptoms in their self-assessment. “Once the symptoms are confirmed, our panel of doctors call them to see if they need testing for COVID-19, hospitalisation or home isolation. The NHA has contacted more than 6 lakh citizens and facilitated more than 15,000 tele-consultations with doctors,’’ noted the release.

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