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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Ayushman Bharat scheme has worked quite well: CEO Indu Bhushan

Dr. Indu Bhushan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the scheme talks to Rhythma Kaul about the year-long journey and why four states are yet to come on board.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2019 02:46 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Dr. Indu Bhushan, the  Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ayushman Bharat  scheme.
Dr. Indu Bhushan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ayushman Bharat scheme.(Mohd Zakir/ HT file photo)
         

A year after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government launched the Ayushman Bharat –Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), about five million people have been admitted to hospitals under the scheme. Dr. Indu Bhushan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the scheme talks to Rhythma Kaul about the year-long journey and why four states are yet to come on board.

How will you describe the year-long Ayushman Bharat journey?

The year has been quite remarkable. If you had asked me a year ago that about 5 million people will be admitted in hospitals under PMJAY, 10 million cards will be generated and 32 states will come on board in a year, I would have said no way. In general the scheme has worked quite well.

What are the lessons learnt?

We need to work on making the software 100% leak proof. It is an efficient software but there is always room for improvement. We are also working on tweaking the packages on offer, as we found duplication in certain cases such as cancer surgery was also a part of general surgery. Implant and surgery is a common package currently but we intend to break it into two so that quality of implants isn’t compromised.

Is the scheme financially sustainable in the long run?

We have more than what is required. So far the scheme has spent Rs 6000 crore, which is the Centre’s share of 60%, and the money allocated to us has been almost Rs 10,000 crore. India’s National Health Profile aims to bring the health spend to 2.5% of the GDP in coming years, which will also help in sustaining the scheme. There’s no cause for concern

Why aren’t all states on board yet? Isn’t it ironic that a part of software system working for Ayushman Bharat is based on the Telangana State’s insurance model and yet the state isn’t on board?

We have 32 states and Union Territories with us, and we are hopeful the rest will also join in soon. I can’t really comment on why these four states — Delhi, Odisha, West Bengal and Telangana — decided not to join but we did try to convince them.

Not too many hospitals, especially private ones, seem to be keen on getting empanelled. Why?

There are 18,000 empanelled hospitals at the moment and we aim to bring the number up to at least 25,000 by the end of the year. We have realised people are comfortable with the model of high margin and low volumes, and hesitate breaking away from it and going for high volume and low margin. It’s a challenge but we are hopeful they will eventually see reason.

First Published: Sep 23, 2019 02:46 IST

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