With public and private sector joining hands- India is set to soon bring in the world’s biggest Health Sector reform named Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM). In this regard, J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare exchanged the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Health Ministers of 20 States marking their commitment towards the launch of the Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) at a Health Ministers conclave, on 15 June 2018.
Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Anupriya Patel, Ministers of State for Health and Family Welfare, Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog, Dr. Vinod Paul, Member Health, NITI Aayog, Smt Preeti Sudan, Secretary (Health) and Shri Indu Bhushan, CEO, AB-NHPM, were also were also present at the function.
J.P. Nadda emphasised that the success of the scheme hinges upon the active participation of the States. States need to own the scheme while Centre will design the policy framework with all possible flexibility and support. “Exchanging of Memorandum of Understanding is an important step in formalizing the partnership between Centre and States,” he added.
J P Nadda further stated that AB-NHPM will protect around 50 crore people (from about 10 crore families). “It will be cashless and paperless access to services upto Rs. 5 lakhs per year will be available for the beneficiary families at the point of service in both public and private empanelled hospitals across India,” Nadda added. He further said that the beneficiaries under the scheme can avail services anywhere in India and it is expected to bring a visible relief to the target families by mitigating the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.
The Union Health Minister further stated that health is at the centre-stage and the Government is looking at it holistically. He said that AB-NHPM will protect the people and at the same time Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) will deliver comprehensive primary health care. The H&WC would provide preventive, promotive, and curative care for non-communicable diseases, dental, mental, geriatric care, palliative care, etc. He further stated that the Government has initiated universal screening of common NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and common cancers along with Tuberculosis and Leprosy, which will eventually help in reducing the disease burden of the country.
Here, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, said that Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) will have major impact on reduction of Out Of Pocket (OOP) expenditure. Choubey further said that the scheme will give cashless benefits in any public or private hospital across the country, ensuring accessible and equitable quality health care to the marginalized and vulnerable sections.
Further, Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare stated that NHPM is a move towards comprehensive model of health services delivery, from a sectoral, fragmented and segmented approach. She further said that it a big step to improve secondary and tertiary hospitalization and healthcare facilities.
The Health Ministers and Secretaries were appreciative of the support and inclusive approach extended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and National Health Agency for Ayushman Bharat – National Health Mission (AB-NHPM) with substantial engagement of all the stakeholders while firming up all the aspects of the Mission like operational guidelines, model tender document for selection of insurance companies and implementation support agencies for trusts, etc
CEO AB-NHPM, Indu Bhushan gave a detailed presentation and updated the status of the implementation. He urged the States to seek approval and release RFP for insurance company hiring (in case of insurance mode) or Implementation support agency (ISA) in case of trust mode implementation. 20 states have so far signed MoU and its likely to be 25 States by the end of this month. During the conclave, model tender documents, final operational guidelines for AB-NHPM were released which are focused on beneficiary centric delivery of services while ensuring there is no compromise on the quality of healthcare services and preventing frauds. The participants were appreciative of the inclusive approach taken by National Health Agency during consultations and workshops.
A web portal for initiating the empanelment of hospitals under the mission was also launched. This marks the commencement of the implementation of AB-NHPM and takes the Mission closer to launch. Training / Demo of empanelment software will be conducted in next two weeks and States can operationalise empanelment of hospitals by 1st of July.
Building the momentum, Indu Bhushan, CEO, Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Mission and R. N. Tandon, Hony. Secretary General, Indian Medical Association (IMA) met on 22 June 2018 to discuss the potential collaboration in implementing Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM). IMA representatives agreed to extend their support for better implementation of AB-NHPM especially in field of empanelment of hospitals, spreading awareness and beneficiary identification processes.
Tandon said “IMA is proud to be associated with AB-NHPM and would be keen to provide help in spreading awareness and developing a larger network of quality service providers especially in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities.”
Indu Bhushan added that IMA is a critical stakeholder in AB-NHPM as private sector role is key to success of AB-NHPM by enhancing the accessibility to quality and patient centric care. Key issues like timely payments to the hospitals, feedback & grievance mechanism, ease of setting up of IT infrastructure at hospitals for paperless transactions etc. were deliberated on, and constructive suggestions were made during the meeting.
Dinesh Arora, Dy. CEO stated that NABH accreditation is desirable but not essential for the hospitals, since the quality and patient safety would be one of the key principle of AB-NHPM. He also conveyed that based on costing studies to be steered by NITI Aayog, continual adjustment of benefit packages and their rates is proposed, hence, IMA need to support NHA through their on-ground knowledge and professional expertise.
Indu Bhushan emphasised that, “We need to ensure that the targeted beneficiaries under AB-NHPM will get maximum benefits and can expand access to quality health services in both rural and urban areas including Tier-2 and 3 cities. This can be done only when Government, private healthcare providers and associations like IMA and other industry bodies work together as partners for betterment of health status of the society”