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Nearly 16 lakh people benefitted and Rs 2000-cr spent in PMJAY: Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO, NHA

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Dr Bhushan mentioned that the government is trying to improve and provide quality services for the beneficiaries, enhancing last mile coverage and enabling a robust fraud control mechanism

Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA) and AB PMJAY informed that the initial roll out phase of Ayushman Bharat –Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana has been smooth. The scheme having completed over 170 days, majorly covered people in secondary and tertiary healthcare for medical oncology, cardiology, orthopaedics, urology and radiation oncology.

Speaking exclusively with Express Healthcare, Dr Bhushan, said, “The initial roll out of executing such a massive entitle-based national health protection scheme has been smooth. We are happy with the initial momentum built on the scheme. Reaching 15 lakh people in less than six months, issuing more than 2.3 crore cards and then enrolling almost 15,000 hospitals, the roll out has been the way we had planned and it has been quite robust.”

Updating more on the scheme, Bhushan said, “We have been able to issue more than 2.6 crore e-cards to beneficiaries in less than six months into the scheme’s implementation. In the same time, more than 16 lakh beneficiaries across the country have availed free treatment worth Rs 2,000 crores for serious illnesses in secondary and tertiary healthcare. We still have to reach out to more than 10 crore households in the country. We need to empower them by making them aware of the features, benefits and their rights as beneficiaries under the scheme and we are doing that by various kinds of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaigns,” he said.

Citing the major challenges ahead, Dr Bhushan said that they are trying to improve and provide quality services for the beneficiaries, enhancing last mile coverage and enabling a robust fraud control mechanism. He emphasised that PMJAY is the first healthcare scheme to have a specific data privacy and security policy.

“Information Technology (IT) is the main stake of the scheme, as we are dealing with a sensitive healthcare data. IT helps us to identify a beneficiary, create an electronic health record and track them to payment and monitoring. Without a robust IT back up, the scheme at such a big scale is not possible,” he mentioned.

When questioned about the private hospitals’ dissatisfaction on the scheme’s package, he said, “Private hospitals will always want more. We will never be giving them the rack rates and we are working and trying to move them from low volume to high margin to large volume to low margin. They are not happy. We understand that there are some issues and we are working on them. The main objective and focus of Ayushman Bharat is to bring quality in secondary and tertiary care to 50 crore poor and vulnerable individuals comprising the bottom 40 per cent population of the country. It is to ensure that the poor are able to access curative care at both public and private hospitals for treatment of serious illnesses.”

Talking about the few states like West Bengal and Odisha, who didn’t enroll into the PMJAY scheme, Bhushan said, “It is a win-win situation for the state government as the scheme is providing resources for the states. A good healthcare model, with a robust IT platform and national portability, the state governments should be willing to join such a scheme. We are still working with all of them and asking them to join, hopefully sooner and later they will come on board. Why will they want to forgo the money which is being provided to them and it will ultimately help the people of their state.”

Dr Bhushan shared a lot more about the PMJAY scheme in a freewheeling interview. For more on the interview, read the April issue of Express Healthcare.

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