As a country, we have run successful population-wide vaccination campaigns to eradicate diseases such as smallpox and polio. These campaigns included full participation and one of the greatest mobilizations of all social classes ever.
At the same time, we in the health sector continue to face major challenges in order to give all Indians equal access to high-quality health care.
With an own expenditure of almost 60 percent in the health system, the hospitalization rates in the economically weaker sections of the population are even lower. For many Indians, hospitalization has serious socio-economic consequences. It is estimated that nearly 60 million Indians are being pushed into poverty due to disastrous expenses.
Against the background of these contradicting realities, Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 23, 2018. In the three years of its existence, the program has made a significant contribution to overcoming the challenge of equal access for the poor to inpatient health care.
AB PM-JAY has approximately 2.2 billion through a network of nearly 24,000 hospitals across the country. The program has emerged as the world’s largest government-funded health care system, aiming to cover 10.74 crore families or 53 crore individuals from the 2011 socioeconomic caste census. It is important to note that the 33 states / UTs that make up the AB PM. implement, -JAY has further expanded the beneficiary database to 13.44 crore families (65 crore individuals).
With a huge network of 24,000 dedicated healthcare providers across India, AB PM-JAY is implemented through a robust data-driven technology framework. PM-JAY’s IT system can process more than 30 transactions for verification of beneficiaries per second. In addition, 28 hospital admissions per minute are collected via the PM-JAY transaction management system.
The program plays a critical role in attracting support to the health ecosystem to promote improved access to quality health care. This is shown by the fact that almost 60 percent of all hospital admissions come from the private sector. In addition, perhaps for the first time ever, a health system has brought gender equality to the fore. Approximately 50 percent of Ayushman cardholders are women, and over 47 percent of approved hospital admissions were also received by women.
What does the future hold for Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY? After three years, our aim is to aggressively expand the program’s footprint and make a greater impact on the health ecosystem and society in general.
We have set ourselves the ambitious goal of gaining 10 crore new beneficiaries in the current financial year. We are redesigning our beneficiary identification systems to make it easier and faster for program beneficiaries to register.
In addition, we know the importance of engaging key stakeholders such as health care providers and creating incentives to participate in the program. That’s why we’re streamlining packages, tariffs, and treatment protocols to align with the expectations of the medical community. This will help make the packages more viable for the dedicated healthcare providers and more attractive for newer providers to join the PM-JAY ecosystem. We’re also making our IT platform more robust to streamline and automate claims decision logs to enable faster claims settlement. Through programs such as Ayushman Mitra, we seek to revitalize the involvement of our HCWs (Health Workers), FLWs (Frontline Workers), civil society and strengthen their role in the growth and success of this program.
AB PM-JAY has given countless marginalized Indians access to advanced health care. Moving into a post-pandemic world, AB PM-JAY aims to build a health highway in line with the National Digital Health Mission (a flagship program also promoted by the NHA) to provide a holistic continuum of health care for myriad . offer families in the countryside.
The author is the CEO of the National Health Authority
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