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Big variations in Covid-19 treatment charges under PM-JAY among states, says study

The report by 'Project: Jeevan Raksha' also says that the outcomes of treatments under the PM-JAY scheme are not being recorded with many states not reporting deaths during treatment.

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
October 4, 2021 10:08:19 am
A total of 1.1 million PM-JAY beneficiaries have got admitted for treatment in 25 hospitals out of which 44,700 beneficiaries have died so far (till August 2021) while getting treatment. (Express File Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

A public-private initiative providing insights on the handling of Covid-19 in India has found big variations in hospitalisation charges among Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) empanelled hospitals in different parts of the country.

New findings reported by ‘Project: Jeevan Raksha’ indicate that the average hospitalisation charge per beneficiary in Karnataka was Rs 11,055 while in Andhra Pradesh, it was 2.6 times higher at Rs 28,452.

“We strongly believe that the National Health Authority (NHA) needs to have robust financial control to ensure that each rupee of taxpayers money spent on the welfare of the economically poor is utilised effectively and efficiently. There is an urgent need to examine the rationale for such a huge variation in hospitalisation charges amongst PM-JAY empanelled hospitals in neighbouring states,” the report stated.

The Jeevan Raksha report also states that the outcomes of treatments under the PM-JAY scheme are not being recorded with many states not reporting deaths during treatment.

“Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are not disclosing deaths of PM-JAY beneficiaries with the National Health Authority (NHA). As of August 2021, Rs 10,812 crore has been authorised for hospital treatment. It is surprising to note that NHA does not have a system to capture the outcome of the treatment of PM-JAY beneficiaries in states,” the report stated.

As part of the continuing analysis of the PM-JAY scheme – based on data gathered through RTI queries, Jeevan Raksha examined the list of top 25 PM-JAY empanelled hospitals in which the most number of beneficiaries of PM-JAY have been reported. These 25 hospitals are in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Gujarat, the report states.

A total of 1.1 million PM-JAY beneficiaries have got admitted for treatment in these 25 hospitals out of which 44,700 beneficiaries have died so far (till August 2021) while getting treatment.

Out of 1.1 million PM-JAY beneficiaries who have got admitted for treatment in these 25 hospitals, 0.6 million have been admitted in the nine hospitals in Kerala which accounts for 56 per cent of total admission.

The majority of hospitals (nine out of 25) reporting a high incidence of deaths among PM-JAY beneficiaries are also in Kerala. Out of 44,700 PM-JAY beneficiaries who have died so far while getting treatment in these 25 hospitals, 19,441 deaths have occurred in Kerala which is 44 per cent, the report said.

“Further, when we closely examine the data of these 25 hospitals in juxtaposition with Covid data of the respective states, we get a strong impression that some of these empanelled hospitals, especially which were designated hospital for Covid, could have under-reported the total number of PM-JAY beneficiaries treated for Covid in these hospitals and also the number of Covid deaths,” says the report. “Therefore, there is an urgent need to strengthen the process and system to ensure the best ethical practices are implemented and monitored in the PM-JAY empanelled hospitals,” the study conducted as part of an initiative by Proxima Consulting in collaboration with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) suggested.

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