Govt to get pvt hospitals on board for healthcare

Govt to get pvt hospitals on board for healthcare

 India’s new health policy promises common healthcare delivery to every citizen by engaging both government and private clinics, but stops short of making health a ‘fundamental right’ along the same lines as education.

The policy, approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, also does not propose any health cess to fund the government's ambitious healthcare agenda till 2025.

Both ideas were mooted in the draft policy document that was released around the end of 2014. After consultations within the central government and with the states, the ideas were dropped for want of adequate infrastructure, and on adverse feedback from the industry.

“There would be no health cess. The budget would come from within the government. We propose to raise the public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time-bound manner,” Health Minister J P Nadda said here after making an announcement on the policy in Parliament.

The policy sets several new health targets for the country, including on life expectancy and eradication or reduction of diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy.

Nadda has promised free drugs and diagnostics at the primary and community health centres as well as in district hospitals.

In areas where government facilities are not available, the private sector would be engaged to offer these services free of cost to patients. The government in turn will reimburse these hospitals and clinics.

To reduce out-of-pocket expenses for patients, the policy suggests creation of a National Healthcare Standards Organisation that will be tasked to come up with standard guidelines and treatment protocols for common ailments.

This is expected to curb the practice of different hospitals charging vastly different rates for similar services and treatment.

The proposed organisation would carry out periodic evaluations at all hospitals and certify them. A separate empowered tribunal has been proposed to settle disputes.
The policy seeks to move away from the existing concept of sick care to wellness with a thrust on prevention and health promotion.

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