In a shot in the arm against nation’s fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the ministry of health and family welfare has put testing and treatment of covid-19 pandemic under Ayushman Bharat–Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), reports LiveMint.
It should be noted that at present the testing and treatment of covid-19 can be availed freely in the public facilities.
However, with the latest announcement of expanding the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, considered to be the world’s largest state-sponsored health insurance scheme, more than 50 crore citizens will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID-19 in empaneled hospitals
The information was made public in a statement by National Health Authority (NHA) and health ministry. Notably, NHA is the apex government agency at the helm of design, roll-out, implementation and management of AB-PMJAY across the country.
“The empaneled hospitals can use their own authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved or registered by ICMR. Similarly, the treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY,” the statement said.
The decision aims at increasing the supply of testing and treatment facilities and enhance access to them by bringing in the private sector through AB-PM JAY scheme.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said, “In this unprecedented crisis we have to very actively involve the private sector as a key partner and stakeholder in the fight against COVID-19. Making testing and treatment available under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY will significantly expand our capacities by including private sector hospitals and labs and mitigate the adverse impact of this catastrophic illness on the poor.”
ICRM had on 21 March issued guidelines which were to be followed by all private laboratories which said that only those private labs which have NABL accreditation for real-time PCR SA for RNA virus would be allowed to conduct COVID-19 tests.
The National Task Force has also capped the maximum cost for testing in private labs at Rs 4,500.
Additionally, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) in a press release on Wednesday (1 April) had said that the standard health insurance policy “Arogya Sanjeevani” for all 29 general/health insurance companies will now cover hospitalisation under Covid-19.
At the time of writing of this report the deadly disease has so far claimed 86 lives and affected 3,082 people in India.