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Ayushman Bharat admissions need to go up in Uttar Pradesh

The flag of India and a stethoscope. The concept of medicine. Stethoscope on the flag in the background.Ayushman Bharat admissions must go up in Uttar Pradesh, with Dr Indu Bhushan urging a threefold increase in the state.

The relatively low pace of implementation in the state could be linked to inadequate infrastructure, with the state empanelling just 2,312 hospitals under the scheme and being home to approximately 2,628 health and wellness centres. In addition, states considered to have poor pre-existing healthcare infrastructure – such as Uttar Pradesh – also tend to perform poorly in implementation of the scheme. States with poor performance on Ayushman Bharat have also recorded low awareness of the scheme among prospective beneficiaries. 

In November, it was reported that Uttar Pradesh – together with Bihar – are the worst performers under Ayushman Bharat. The scheme – officially known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) – is the Centre’s flagship health insurance scheme which provides annual cashless health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to economically vulnerable families. Of the Rs 7,602 crore worth of claims made across India until November 20th, Uttar Pradesh accounted for just Rs 207 crore with just 230,000 Ayushman Bharat admissions in the state despite the large size of its beneficiary population. 

“Every day, about 30,000 patients avail of benefits under the scheme [nationwide],” said Bhushan, chief executive officer of the National Health Authority, which oversees Ayushman Bharat. “At least ten percent of these — about 3,000 — should be from Uttar Pradesh.”

Bhushan met with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, as well as chief medical officers and medical college chiefs from across the state, in the state capital Lucknow. After the meeting, Bhushan told The Economic Times “Uttar Pradesh is reporting about 1,000 treatments under the scheme daily which is less considering there are over a crore beneficiary families in Uttar Pradesh. We have asked if the level can be raised to 3,000 treatments daily. 

“The public hospitals need to be more actively involved while we will work on early payments to private hospitals to make them more enthusiastic about the scheme. The Chief Minister has promised all cooperation to us and said he will pass instructions to officials for gearing up to the task.” 

“After a year of implementation we feel that the biggest challenge before us is the low awareness level about Ayushman Bharat,” Bhushan commented earlier this year, around the time of the one-year anniversary of Ayushman Bharat’s launch. “We need to take the scheme to the last mile. Our survey also suggests that beneficiaries do not know how they can avail of the scheme. This needs to be worked upon.”

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