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Centre to states: Process health workers’ insurance claims swiftly

In a letter to the secretaries, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote that the insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for frontline healthcare workers is available till September 2020, and that all states are “expected to quickly process such claims” and send them to the Health Ministry on priority.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: August 8, 2020 2:01:56 am
Health workers getting ready at a local medical health center for a survey in Mumbai.Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty , 2nd Aug 2020, Mumbai .

The Centre has asked state health secretaries to ensure swift processing of frontline health workers’ claims under the government’s insurance scheme in order to “secure and safeguard” them amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter to the secretaries on Thursday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote that the insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for frontline healthcare workers under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package is available till September 2020, and that all states are “expected to quickly process such claims” and send them to the Health Ministry on priority.

“The PMGKP was announced to provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for public healthcare providers and private hospital staff/retired/volunteer/local urban bodies/contract/daily wage/ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned for Covid-19 work… PMGKP will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting Covid-19,” Bhushan wrote to the states.

The Centre also stressed on the timely payment of salaries and honorarium to the healthcare workers. “I believe that you would accord top priority to this aspect,” said the letter. “In the last about 6 months, the Central govt, and states have tackled the Covid-19 pandemic and have gained valuable experience. One of the important learning from this experience has been the critical importance of securing and safeguarding our front line healthcare workers,” Bhushan said.

The Health Secretary also asked states to ensure adequate security to healthcare professionals, medical staff and frontline workers and intimate action against perpetrators of violence. Bhushan said states should ensure equitable distribution of PPE kits among the healthcare workers. “An important component of infection prevention is the correct use of PPEs…They should follow a ‘buddy system’ to ensure that PPEs are donned and doffed correctly and donning/doffing is done in designated areas.”

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