The Indian government has decided to provide free coronavirus testing and treatment facilities to more than 50 crore Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme beneficiaries.
Now, the Ayushman beneficiaries can avail free testing and treatment in designated private hospitals across India, The Hindu reported.
This would allow beneficiaries to get timely and standard treatment, said Dr Indu, chief executive officer of Ayushman Bharat.
The announcement has come with India registering today morning an increase of 302 cases in the last 12 hours. The total number of positive cases has risen to 3,374 in India (including 3,030 active cases, 267 cured/discharged/migrated people and 77 deaths), according to the Health Ministry.
Giving details, Dr Bhushan said: "The empaneled hospitals can use their own authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility for the scheme. These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and by private labs approved/registered by the ICMR. Similarly, treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will be covered under AB-PMJAY."
The objective of the decision was to increase the supply of testing and treatment facilities and increase access by roping in the private sector through AB-PM JAY scheme as per the ICMR guidelines, he said.
Private sector involvement
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that "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."
He added that States were in the process of enlisting private sector hospitals that could be converted into COVID-19 only hospitals.
Information on symptoms, testing and treatment for the disease can be accessed from the website of the MoHFW and by calling the national COVID-19 helpline 1075.