Express View on Ayushman Bharat: A health warning

Source: The post is based on the article “Express View on Ayushman Bharat: A health warning” published in The Indian express on 21st July 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

News: The author discusses the achievements and shortcomings of India’s Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme. It highlights a fraud case at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where a doctor deceived critically-ill patients, suggesting the need for better patient awareness and a more compassionate approach.

What is Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme?

Read here: Ayushman Bharat programme

What are the achievements of India’s Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme?

Impact: Over 5 crore hospitalizations since its inception.

Financial Relief: Decreased out-of-pocket health expenses from 62% in 2015 to 47% in 2020.

Digital Tools: Health ministry employed AI to detect impersonation and false claims.

Benefit Outreach: Provides a solution for financially stressed families and medical migrants.

What are the shortcomings of India’s Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme?

Fraud Cases: A neurosurgeon at Safdarjung Hospital deceived critically-ill patients. Like, families of the ill are misled into choosing costlier treatments over scheme benefits.

Delayed Benefits: Some doctors mislead patients, saying scheme benefits take months.

Lack of Awareness: Patients need better understanding of scheme benefits.

Trust Issues: Some view hospitals as intimidating, especially during financial stress.

What should be done?

Strict Oversight: Address frauds, like the Safdarjung Hospital incident, through robust monitoring.

Transparent Communication: Ensure doctors provide clear information about ailments and treatments.

Digital Aids: Continue using AI and other tools to detect impersonation and false claims.

Patient-Centric Approach: Make the system more patient-friendly to counteract fear and distrust.

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