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Ayushman Bharat: Private firms may get to offer services at govt hospitals
Photo Credit: Satyakam Banerjee/VCCircle

Private healthcare companies could soon provide services at government civil hospitals across small towns and in semi-urban areas. 

The Niti Aayog, the government’s policy think tank, on Wednesday released guidelines and a so-called ‘model concession agreement’ for roping in private healthcare companies to provide instruments, infrastructure and manpower at government-operated district hospitals across the country for the treatment of non-communicable diseases. 

Non-communicable diseases are those that do not spread via infections due to human contact. These include a wide range of ailments ranging from cancer to heart diseases and from orthopedic to neurological disorders.

The guidelines come just after the government last month launched its ambitious Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme. The scheme is being touted as the world’s largest such programme. It covers 10 crore families and provides insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for hospitalisation expenses.

The Niti Aayog says that the rationale behind going in for a public-private partnership model is that public healthcare delivery in the country remains “constrained due to inadequate funding inability to attract and retain specialist human resources, infrastructure gaps and weak management capacity”. 

Moreover, with a significant upsurge in patients expected following the launch of Ayushman Bharat, the available infrastructure at public hospitals could fall woefully short. 

In an interview to VCCircle last month, Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer at the National Health Agency, had said that 1 crore to 1.25 crore additional patients are likely to seek the benefits from the health insurance scheme to begin with.

Bhushan had said that the government expects a downstream revenue generation of Rs 10,000 crore to begin with, which could more than double in the next couple of years.

As per the Niti Aayog guidelines, the government will enter into 10-15 year log contracts with private parties under which the latter will be paid on a per-procedure basis. The package rates will be determined via a competitive bidding process. 

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