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Ayushman Bharat marks one crore treatments since launch

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More than 21,565 hospitals have been empanelled. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Rajasthan have emerged as top performing states providing highest number of treatments under the scheme

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the flagship health assurance scheme of the Government of India today marked one crore treatments, worth approx. Rs 13,412 crore crossing this milestone in less than 20 months since its launch on September 23, 2018.

More than 21,565 hospitals have been empanelled. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Rajasthan have emerged as the top performing states providing highest number of treatments under the scheme. Orthopaedics, cardiology, cardio-thoracic & vascular surgery, radiation oncology and urology have remained as the top specialties under which treatment is sought.

Treatment packages like single stent (medicated, inclusive of diagnostic angiogram), hip fracture internal fixation and rehabilitation, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), double stent (medicated, inclusive of diagnostic angiogram) and total knee replacement have emerged as top tertiary procedures.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said, “This is a milestone achievement for Ayushman Bharat PMJAY scheme on providing one crore treatments to patients from the country’s poorest households since its launch less than two years ago. These treatments worth Rs 13,412 crore have been provided through a growing network of 21,565 public and private empanelled hospitals.”

Dr Vardhan added, “I convey my best wishes and gratitude to all the States who have ensured the scheme delivers on its promise especially in unprecedented times of COVID-19. Government of India is making persistent efforts to expand testing and make treatment of COVID-19 available for free to all 53 crore beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY, further strengthening Government of India’s resolve, scope and capability to move towards universal health coverage. Concerted efforts by every health worker and all empanelled hospitals have helped us achieve the one crore mark.”

To mark this milestone, the first edition of Arogya Dhara, a series of webinars created as an open platform for discussion on topical issues of public health, is being planned to be held on May 21. The webinar titled ‘Ayushman Bharat: 1 crore treatments and beyond’ will have keynote address by Dr Vardhan, Dr Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY will be making a presentation on the performance of AB PM-JAY and discuss the journey ahead. The webinar will be webcast through all official social media pages of National Health Authority and is open for all members of the general public.

On this occasion, Dr Vardhan is expected to launch a ‘Ask Ayushman’ chatbot on WhatsApp, a 24×7 AI-enabled assistant that provides information on various aspect of the AB PM-JAY scheme such as its benefits, features, process of making an e-card, locating the nearest empanelled hospital, sharing feedback and the process of lodging a grievance. One of the key features of the chatbot is that it is able to comprehend and respond in Hindi and English languages and it also provides text-to-speech feature for the users and can be universally used on all major social media platforms.

The Minister will also launch a hospital ranking dashboard which is a significant step to rank empanelled hospitals on the basis of beneficiaries’ feedback. The ranking will help NHA to take evidence-based decision-making for enhancing the quality measures and indicators of healthcare delivery across all empanelled facilities to further improve the beneficiaries experience.

Apart from the above, Hindi version of the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY website was also launched. The main objective of launching the website in Hindi is to effectively connect with the masses and to empower them with access to right information through a user-friendly medium.

On this occasion Dr Vardhan is also expected to release a special edition of the AB PM-JAY beneficiary e-card exhibiting the milestone of 1 crore hospital admissions.

The National Health Authority (NHA) has been working on new initiatives to support and supplement the Government of India efforts in response to COVID-19 pandemic. The NHA has focussed on how to get private sector more actively involved in the response with greater participation from private sector hospitals for both COVID-19 as well as non-COVID-19 health conditions.

Responding to the outbreak of COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has made the testing and treatment for COVID-19 free of cost under AB-PMJAY scheme for all its 53 crore beneficiaries. 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 critical illnesses, the National Health Authority (NHA) started an express empanelment mechanism with a less stringent criteria for temporary empanelment of hospitals in March this year. Among the 21,565 hospitals empanelled under AB PM-JAY, more than 1,385 hospitals have been empanelled across the country since April 1, 2020, out of which 1,310 are through the regular empanelment route and remaining 75 under express empanelment. Of the total new hospitals onboarded, nearly 58 per cent are private hospitals. 2,132 people have availed or are currently undergoing treatment for COVID-19 under AB PM-JAY in the country.

Dr Bhushan said, “We are marking this milestone of one crore treatment under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY at a time when the whole country is reeling under the COVID pandemic. We have utilised this period to leverage our IT systems, expertise and network of private sector stakeholders to support the Government of India’s preparedness and response in the form of managing the national COVID helpline 1075 to conducting thousands of outbound calls to COVID positive patients and their families. We have also further strengthened our network of hospitals and service capabilities to ensure continued service delivery to non-COVID patients under the scheme. We are deeply grateful to the frontline health workers, hospitals, and all staff at NHA and in the States for their invaluable contribution in the implementation of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) and maintaining the momentum during this crisis.”

 NHA’s state-of-the-art call centre is also being used as COVID-19 helpline. More than 600-700 dedicated agents are answering calls by citizens round the clock.

National Health Authority 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 such as 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 utilisation of testing facilities and resources. NHA regularly keeps in touch with them through telephone to ensure that they are well and do not have any COVID-19 like symptoms and also provides them advise about how to deal with the pandemic. Three crore such calls have been made across the country.

The NHA is also supporting the Government of India’s Arogya Setu mobile application dedicated to providing citizens information on COVID-19 and to help them take necessary steps to protect themselves. NHA has been making outbound calls through its call centre to people who have come in close proximity to COVID-positive patients, as identified through the app, and people who have reported COVID-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. NHA has contacted more than six lakh citizens and facilitated more than 15,000 tele-consultations with doctor.

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