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SAIL hospitals brought into the fold on Ayushman Bharat

Public domain. The Rourkela Steel Plant in Rourkela, Odisha, which is operated by SAIL.
The Rourkela Steel Plant in Rourkela, Odisha, which is operated by SAIL.

The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) will be brought into the Government’s flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat. 

The programme, officially known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), provides a range of healthcare services to economically vulnerable citizens to the tune of Rs 5 lakh per family per year. In its first year, Ayushman Bharat benefited beneficiaries, dispensing 46.4 lakh treatments worth Rs 7,500 crore. The number of beneficiaries availing treatments has since increased to 63.7 lakh. 

Treatments are provided through government-run health and wellness centres and empanelled hospitals, belonging to both the public and private sectors. Of the 18,073 hospitals empanelled by September, 53 percent belonged to the private sector. Whilst the Government is looking to the private sector to increase the number of empanelled hospitals, it is also looking to the public sector, including those hospitals run by government agencies – as the collaboration with SAIL reflects.

“SAIL has signed an MoU [memorandum of understanding] with NHA [the National Health Authority, the agency responsible for implementing Ayushman Bharat] for empanelment of its hospitals under PMJAY,” SAIL announced. “At fourteen SAIL hospitals/healthcare units at various locations like Bhilai, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur, Burnpur, etc. it will extend the coverage to a larger section of the populace in those regions.” SAIL is a publicly-owned steelmaker. 

At the beginning of December, the Government wrote to Union ministries and other government agencies, asking them to empanel any hospitals under their ambit under Ayushman Bharat. Those who provide services for employees of select ministries and government departments such as SAIL, the Ministries of Railways, the Central Armed Police Forces, and Coal India Limited are onboard with the Government’s plans according to a senior NHA official. The Government’s position is that all hospitals belonging to the public sector ought to be empanelled under Ayushman Bharat. 

According to the Steel Authority, “SAIL has established 54 primary health centres, twelve reproductive and child health (RCH) centres, seventeen hospitals and seven super-speciality hospitals to provide modern health care to more than 30.60 million people. The hospitals have a total strength of around 4,043 beds for the benefit of employees, their dependents and the peripheral population and are managed by around 4,000 trained medical staff. SAIL hospitals also implement the government’s RCH programme across all plants/units.”

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