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Health in Amrit Kaal: India’s Potential

Context

A recently released classified paper makes the following allegations: “Circumventing Ayushman Bharat and misleading underprivileged patients at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.”

Relevance

GS2 – Health, Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Arising out of their Design & Implementation

Mains Question

Examine how India’s accomplishments will be shaped throughout the next 25 years of Amrit Kaal by its health. Talk about creative ways to boost healthcare spending and maximise resource use to realise the full potential of the country. (150 Words)


The Healthcare Sector in India

  • In India, the healthcare industry has grown to be one of the biggest, making a substantial contribution to both job possibilities and revenue generation. The healthcare industry in the nation is expanding quickly thanks to better access, more comprehensive services, and more investments from both public and private organisations.
  • The public and private sectors can be essentially categorised as the two main parts of India’s healthcare delivery system. The primary focus of the public healthcare system is on providing primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in rural regions with basic healthcare services, and it mostly comprises of restricted secondary and tertiary care institutions located in important urban centres. On the other hand, the private sector, which is well-represented in metropolitan areas and tier-I and tier-II cities, dominates the provision of secondary, tertiary, and quaternary care services.

Key Findings of the PMJAY Scheme, Per the Report:

  • The Importance of Treating Doctors and the Time Required for Claims Settlement
  • The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme is revealed in the report in two significant ways. First of all, it emphasises how important treating physicians are in deciding the best medical plan for patients and whether they would be enrolled in the PMJAY scheme at all. The research also reveals situations in which doctors may deceive patients by saying falsely that “Ayushman Bharat Clearance” may take several months.
  • The analysis refutes the myth that it takes an unreasonable amount of time to resolve claims in public healthcare facilities. 54 percent of the claims filed across all facilities were successfully resolved, with a 21-day average settlement period.
  • The survey also demonstrates indications that medical personnel working in public institutions do not actively support the PMJAY plan. These results necessitate a closer review of the scheme’s implementation and efficacy and demand actions to raise medical team engagement and process openness.

The Pradhan Mantri Providing India with Universal Health Coverage under the Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY)

  • About:
    • According to the National Health Policy 2017, PMJAY was introduced in September 2018 with the goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in India. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ayushman Bharat Mission that focuses on early prevention, detection, and management through improved infrastructure development and paediatric care-specific health system preparation.
  • The largest fully-funded health insurance/assurance programme in the world.
    • The implementation costs are split between the federal and state governments.
    • Offers a Rs. 5 lakh annual insurance per family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation in publicly and privately accredited facilities.
    • Pays for diagnostics and medications during pre-hospitalization (up to 3 days) and post-hospitalization (up to 15 days).
    • There are no limitations on age, gender, or family size.
    • Starts out by covering every pre-existing condition.
  • The Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) identified households based on deprivation and occupational characteristics for both rural and urban areas.
    • Contains households who were formerly covered by RSBY but were absent from the SECC 2011 database.
  • Benefits include:
    • Providing hospitals with cashless access to healthcare services.
    • Strives to stop the annual plight of around 6 crore Indians due to catastrophic medical costs.
  • PMJAY is an important step towards achieving UHC in India, providing millions of households with financial security and better access to healthcare.

Challenges

  • There are several reasons why the medical staff has not actively participated in the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme in public facilities:
  • Insufficient Physician Incentives: According to National Health Authority (NHA) regulations, a portion of claim earnings paid to public facilities must be given out as employee incentives. Although treating doctors are given a financial incentive, it might not be enough to persuade them to enrol patients in the programme.
  • Inadequate Arogyamitra Incentives: Public facilities frequently experience resource shortages, which strains the clinical staff. The Arogyamitra, who is in charge of enrolling patients in appropriate plans, is compensated depending on the volume of pre-authorizations that are successfully registered cases, rather than on the amount of claims that are settled. Effective claim settlement and proactive follow-up are discouraged by this lack of motivation.
  • Vested Interests: When patients and doctors have different levels of information, especially the less educated poor, vested interests may be served by denying assistance to qualified people. According to district-level data, public facilities have a much lower percentage of settled claims than private facilities do.
  • By addressing these issues, the medical team’s engagement can be improved and the PMJAY programme can be successfully implemented in public facilities, thereby helping the most vulnerable members of society.

Suggestions

A deliberate focus on enhancing the incentive structure and operational dynamics is essential to fully realise the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana’s (PMJAY) impact in public facilities. A considerable rise in income can be attained by encouraging activity within these facilities, allowing for the allocation of funds for infrastructure development and increased amenities, generating a positive feedback loop for growth.

The following are the essential steps for success:

  • Improved Incentive Structure: Changing the medical staff’s incentive structure can increase their support for the PMJAY programme. Doctors and Arogyamitras might be motivated to participate actively by offering them sufficient financial rewards for patient registrations and successful claims payment.
  • Infrastructure Development: By making investments in better infrastructure, public institutions will be able to accommodate a wider range of medical services, thereby improving access to healthcare for the impoverished. Additionally, fixing eligibility database problems will guarantee that no qualified person is barred from receiving benefits.
  • Complementary Role of State Governments: By providing adequate manpower and ensuring accountability in public infrastructures, state governments must actively support the PMJAY scheme. Incorporating these strategic measures will encourage the medical team’s active engagement and unlock the scheme’s potential in public facilities, positively affecting the lives of millions of vulnerable people across the country. This collaboration will result in a higher volume of services, ensuring effective implementation.

Conclusion:

During the next 25 years of Amrit Kaal, the achievements of the nation will be greatly influenced by the health and education of the Indian people. Unlocking the true potential of every Indian and guaranteeing a successful future for the country depend on finding ways to enhance healthcare funding and optimise resource use.

 


March 2024
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