Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the flagship health assurance scheme of the Government of India today marked 1 crore treatments. To mark this milestone, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare inaugurated the first edition of Arogya Dhara, a series of webinars created as an open platform for discussion on topical issues of public health, heretoday. The webinar is titled “Ayushman Bharat: 1 crore treatments and beyond”. MoS (HFW), Ashwini Kumar Choubey, was also present during the webinar.
Dr. Indu Bhushan, CEO, NHA made a presentation on the performance of AB-PMJAY and discussed the journey ahead. The webinar was webcasted through all official social media pages of National Health Authority and was open for all members of the general public.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “Providing 1 crore treatments to patients from the country’s poorest households since its launch less than two years agois a milestone achievement for Ayushman Bharat PMJAY scheme. These treatments worth Rs 13,412 crore have been provided through a growing network of 21,565 public and private empanelled hospitals.” “Ayushman Bharat will continue be a trailblazer with an all-encompassing humanitarian approach, to deal with various health-related challenges that will confront us in the months and years ahead,” he said.
He further said “Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, is the flagship health assurance scheme of our Government, since its launch in 2018. It is providing affordable healthcare in the form of tertiary hospital treatment to poor and vulnerable Indians through a health cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. Its aim is to ensure financial risk protection to more than 10.74 crore poorest, most vulnerable families in the country and is a step forward towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage in India.”
The Minister conveyed his best wishes and gratitude to all the States who have ensured the scheme delivers on its promise especially in the 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 PMJAY, 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 1 crore mark,” he said.
On this occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched a‘Ask Ayushman’ chat bot on WhatsApp, a 24*7 AI-enabled assistant that provides information on various aspects of the AB-PMJAY 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 chat bot 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 Union Minister also launched 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.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also released a “Special edition of the AB-PMJAY beneficiary e-card” exhibiting the milestone of 1 crore hospital admissions. Apart from the above, “Hindi version of the Ayushman Bharat PMJAY website” was also launched which shall enable to effectively connect with the masses and to empower them with access to right information through a user-friendly medium.
In his address, Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that MoHFW and NHA have been consistently developing, sharing, revising all testing, treatment, hospital and related guidelines, insights and information to its beneficiaries, which is of great help in dispelling rumours and myths surrounding COVID-19.
Dr. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog stated that since its launch in 2018, AB-PMJAY is providing affordable healthcare in the form of tertiary hospital treatment to poor and vulnerable Indians. The aim of PMJAY is to ensure financial risk protection to more than 10 crore poorest, most vulnerable families in the country and move step forward towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage in India.
Dr Indu Bhushan stated that NHA has utilised this period to leverage its 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-19 helpline 1075 to conducting thousands of outbound calls to COVID positive patients and their families.