The state government in Punjab has enlisted an additional 125 privately run hospitals to bolster its health scheme, the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana.
The state-specific initiative, which builds upon the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, aims to provide health insurance to more than three quarters of the state’s population. It was launched on August 20th this year to coincide with the 75th birthday of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
According to state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, 21,697 people have availed treatment under the Punjab health scheme. The cost has been pegged at Rs 22.28 crore, with e-cards being issued to 3,254,733 beneficiaries. In September, it was reported that more than 10,000 patients had benefited in just one month of the scheme being operational.
In a similar manner to Ayushman Bharat, Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana dispenses treatment to beneficiaries through empanelled hospitals, belonging to both the public and private sectors. As well as the 125 hospitals newly empanelled, the state government intends to bring in an additional 115. The majority of patients treated under the scheme have availed treatment in public hospitals.
“All the 362 empanelled [private] hospitals are facilitating secondary as well as tertiary healthcare services to the beneficiaries,” explained Sidhu. “Presently, in addition to the private hospitals, 202 public hospitals have already been empanelled under the universal health insurance scheme and with this figure, 563 public and private hospitals are providing quality services in the state.”
“It took the Government several months to draw the roadmap for the implementation of the cashless treatment scheme to cover 76 percent of its population,” Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said at the launch of the scheme in August. “Similar schemes in other states had covered up to a mere thirty percent of their population.”