Healthcare services are one of the most fundamental requirements of a society, but they remain largely beyond the reach of the masses due to sheer affordability factors. A large number of households are pushed into poverty as a result of the expenditure incurred on health care. The situation is worsened in case of BPL (Below Poverty Line) families. To address this vulnerability faced by the BPL population in the state, the Government of Gujarat has decided to launch a medical care scheme – Mukhyamantri Amrutum (MA) – which will provide free treatment and cover medical care targeted at the BPL population.
The Scheme will improve access to healthcare for BPL families. BPL families will now be able to avail quality medical and surgical care for treatment of identified diseases involving hospitalization, surgeries and therapies through an empanelled network of health care providers. The scheme meets expenses of hospitalization and surgical procedures of the beneficiary members up to Rs.2.0 lakh per family of five members per year. The benefit on family will be on floater basis i.e. the total reimbursement of Rs.2 lakh can be availed individually or collectively by members of the family. Further, the scheme also includes a provision for transport allowance that will amount to Rs.300 per visit subjected to an annual ceiling of Rs.3000. The transport allowance is also part of the total coverage of Rs 2,00,000/- per family.
The Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Gujarat will select private hospitals which will offer services as part of this scheme and they will be referred to as the Network Hospitals. The state government has tied up with 47 private hospitals till now and the network is yet to expand.
The beneficiaries of the scheme are BPL Families of the 26 districts of Gujarat. According to a recent enumeration made by the Rural and Urban Development Department, there are approximately 39 lakh BPL families in all the districts of the State.
According to the guidelines of the scheme a BPL family consists of the head of the family, spouse, and up to three dependents. The dependents will include such members as listed as part of the family in the beneficiary database provided by the Rural and Urban Development Department, Gandhinagar.
An enrolled BPL beneficiary will have to go to any Network Hospital with a Bar Coded Plastic Card and can avail free services for the procedures covered under the Scheme which include cardiovascular surgeries, neurosurgeries, cancer, neo-natal diseases etc. In addition, any illnesses existing prior to the inception of the scheme will also be covered.
A “State Nodal Cell” has also been set up by the Government of Gujarat, for the implementation of this pan-Gujarat scheme. This cell will implement, establish, provide, administer, modify and supervise the Mukhyamantri Amrutum (MA), thus ensuring effective delivery to the beneficiaries.
On the fourth of September, the state government launched three healthcare schemes at an event held at the Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. Mukhyamantri Amrutam Yojana, Khilkhilahat Yojana and the Gujarat State Medical Services Corporation, mentioned in the 2012 State Budget were officially announced by the Chief Minister.
Mukhya Mantri Amrutam Yojana is a Rs.200 crore project aimed at providing free medical treatment upto Rs. 2 lakh to BPL families. Khilkhilahat Yojana is to ensure safe transport for new-borns and their mothers post-delivery and the GMSC is to ensure distribution and availability of life-saving drugs throughout the state.
20 Khilkhilahat vans were flagged on the occasion. Like the 108 ambulances these new service-vans too have been launched in collaboration with GVK EMRI (a non-profit organization). It has been planned that 124 of them will be launched in a phased manner to cover the state.
It was said that the GMSC will start four depots at Gandhinagar, Patan, Amreli, Surat and Jamnagar, now under the jurisdiction of the Central Medical Store Organisation (CMSO), thus decentralizing the system of drug-delivery. The state government plans to set up one depot between two districts and add 7 more depots under the corporation. These depots will supply allopathic as well as ayurvedic medicines.
Speaking on the occasion the Health Minister said, “The present State government has allocated three times more budget for expanding the reach of health services. Even as the lifesaving drugs are easily available in government dispensaries, the setting up of Gujarat Medical Service Corporation will add impetus in providing wider availability of medicines”
On the occasion the Chief Minister felicitated proficient 108 staff members with ‘Jeevan Rakshak’ awards and flagged new 108 ambulances to mark the 5th Anniversary of the 108 services.
Bar-coded cards were handed out to 11 people for availing the Amrutam Yojana.
P.K Taneja I.A.S
( Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Health and Medical Services and Education )
The article is originally published at The GUJARAT, Magazine
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