The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in collaboration with international not-for-profit groups Path and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has launched a paperless e-voucher facility for patients with drug sensitive tuberculosis (TB), who pay for treatment in the private sector.
The project called the Private Provider Interface Agency (PPIA) has been developed to engage the private sector to ensure that patients are diagnosed accurately and do not drop out of the treatment midway because of financial constraints.
The voucher scheme was introduced last year, albeit in form of physical vouchers. It covers patients who are diagnosed with drug sensitive TB and are on the first line of treatment.
However, the e-voucher also covers a GeneXpert test, one of the approved TB tests, across four labs enlisted in the programme.
As of now, there are 1,389 private practitioners who are enrolled in the programme and it has 88 hub hospitals for diagnostic facilities and 92 chemist stores across the city from where the patients can collect medicines using the e-voucher.
The e-voucher does not have a particular value and guarantees free services till the completion of treatment.
Nearly 4,000 patients have been enlisted in Mumbai since the scheme started in September 2014 and around Rs57 lakh has been spent on it.
When a patient visits a private doctor, the doctor will generate an e-voucher number for the patient by calling the PPIA call centre. The e-voucher will then qualify the patient to undertake diagnostic tests and also buy medicines from registered hospitals and shops free of cost.
“The corporation is already taking care of every patient who comes to public hospitals. But, we need to ensure that those who are seeking treatment in the private sector do not drop out,” said Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner.
The e-voucher scheme as of now has been made available in 15 wards across the city.