ASCI, Public Health Foundation of India to review Arogyasri

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on September 28, 2011 Published on September 28, 2011

It is time to look back in the rear-view for Arogyasri Healthcare Trust, the Rs 1,400-crore health insurance scheme in Andhra Pradesh. The scheme, which provides insurance cover up to Rs 2 lakh for about 80 per cent of population in the State, will soon ask the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to gauge the model and suggest changes to fine-tune the scheme.

“The State Government has directed us to have the scheme studied by ASCI and PHFI. It will take about seven-eight months for them to study and come back to us,” Mr N. Srikanth, Chief Executive Officer of Arogyasri Healthcare Trust, said.

Addressing presspersons on the sidelines of Healthcon-2011 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Wednesday, he admitted that there could be some abuse. Though the Trust had no say in determining eligibility of cardholders, it barred 97 private hospitals from taking Arogyasri patients — some for misuse and others for lack of infrastructure. The Trust had begun initiatives to plug loopholes.

The scheme, which attracted national and international attention for its simplicity and capacity to reach out to millions, earned both accolades and criticism. Accolades for letting the poor to get access to super specialty hospitals, which otherwise would have been a mirage. And, criticism for fake Arogyasri cards that allowed, as CARE Hospitals Chairman, Dr Soma Raju, said even people who could afford to fly are being covered.

The Trust was hopeful of achieving 40:60 ratio as mandated by the Government, of participation by public and private healthcare providers in the scheme by the year-end. The ratio was 13:87 last year. But the Trust had recently mandated that some 133 procedures such as appendicitis should be attended to by public hospitals. Within a few months, the ratio improved to 27:73, Mr Srikanth said.

Tertiary care

Delivering the special address, Dr Soma Raju, in lighter vein, termed tertiary care (super-specialty hospitals) as playboys in healthcare sector. He likened primary and secondary healthcare as primary and secondary education and tertiary care with higher education. “It is the responsibility of the Government and the society to focus on primary and secondary healthcare to reduce disease burden,” he said.

Mr Jay Galla, Chairman of CII (AP), said the sector will a shortage of 45,000 physicians and 2.50 lakh nurses by 2012.

Published on September 28, 2011
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