‘Zero tolerance to corruption in any form in PMJAY’: Dr Harsh Vardhan

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“There needs to be seamless integration between the two pillars of Ayushman Bharat to ensure that the vision of the Hon. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji forSwastha Bharat, Samriddh Bharat is fulfilled”. This was stated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, today as he reviewed the progress of the implementation of Ayushman Bharat including Health & Wellness Centres(HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (PMJAY), here today.“The Prime Minister has envisioned the scheme for the health and wellness of the poorest and most vulnerable of the country’s people”, he said.

In the meeting, Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that there will be zero tolerance for frauds and corruption in any form. “Strong checks and balances should be put in place to deter and mitigate fraud and abuse, and adopt a zero-tolerance policy against any leakages,” he said. He noted that several groups may have been left out of the scheme since the current target group is based on SECC 2011. “We need to work to include those eligible families who have been left out in the survey to make the scheme more inclusive”, he stated.Dr Harsh Vardhan further added that the NHA team should chart out the top priorities that would help further deepen the reach and use of the scheme. “It should be ensured that the scheme reaches every last eligible and needy person in the country,”Dr Harsh Vardhan added.

The Union Health Minister also applauded the progress of the scheme and appreciated the work done in a short period since its launch in September 23, 2019.As part of the review, Dr Harsh Vardhansuggested formation of a task force for discussing probable challenges and find solutions in a time bound manner. He further emphasised that a stronger focus should be given on providing information to all eligible beneficiaries about their eligibility, the benefits and how to seek the benefits. “In addition, efforts should be made to ensure quality of care in the empaneled hospitals. We should try to empanel all quality hospitals for the scheme. Efforts should be made to converge the scheme with the existing central and state schemes,” Dr. Harsh Vardhan elaborated.

Dr. HarshVardhan also directed them to augment the number of empanelled hospitals under PMJAY, especially in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities along with ensuring that a minimum 2/3rd of top 200 hospitals empanel under PMJAY.

Out of 36 States/ UTs, 32 have signed MoU with the National Health Authority for implementing PM-JAY and most of these States have started implementation of the scheme. Discussions are in progress with rest of the States – Delhi, Odisha, Telangana, and West Bengal – to bring them on board. In this regard, the Union Health Minister has written to the Chief Ministers of these four states to urge them to implement the scheme in their respective states and bring the benefits of the scheme to the people. Dr, Harsh Vardhanhas assured them of full support to facilitate the States to adopt one single scheme through convergence with the existing state scheme.

While reviewing the HWCs, the Union Health Minister directed for country wide adoption and replication of best practices undertaken by various state governments. He suggested that there need to be “Jan andolan/social movement ambassadors” at the grassroots level, with good understanding of the system and a passion to work for the country who would then motivate the entire community and work towards integration of health systems at all levels. He emphasised for accelerating the progress on expanding the HWCs in the country, and stressed on maintaining the quality of healthcare services being provided at these Centers.

Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ms.Preeti Sudan, Secretary(HFW) and Shri InduBhushan, CEO, National Health Authority (NHA) along with other senior officials from the Ministry and National Health Authority (NHA) were present at the review meeting.