New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) In a major decision that can be seen as a reprieve for many, the Centre has decided to make the testing and treatment for COVID-19 available under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY). The testing and treatment of COVID -19 is already available for free in the public facilities.
Now, more than 50 crore citizens, eligible under the government’s health assurance scheme will be able to avail free testing through private labs and treatment for COVID -19 in empanelled hospitals as well.
“The empanelled hospitals can use their own authorized testing facilities or tie up with an authorized testing facility,” said a government statement.
These tests would be carried out as per Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines and by private labs either approved or registered by the ICMR. Treatment of COVID-19 by private hospitals will also be covered under the scheme.
Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY) is the flagship scheme of the Centre that provides cashless and paperless access to medical services.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told media, “In this unprecedented crisis, we have to very actively involve the private sector as a key partner and stakeholder in the fight against COVID-19. Making testing and treatment available under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY will significantly expand our capacities by including private sector hospitals and labs and mitigate the adverse impact of this catastrophic illness on the poor.”
The decision has been taken to increase the supply of testing and treatment facilities as well as increase access to them by roping in the private sector through the scheme.
This decision will also help attract more private sector players for providing testing and treatment for COVID-19 which is likely to be critical in case there is a surge in the number of patient that need care.
There are 601 positive cases in the last 24 hours, said the Health Ministry on Saturday. There are a total 1,023 positive cases across 17 states in connection with Tablighi Jamaat, whose congregation in Delhi led to a spike in corona cases in India. As of Saturday, India has seen 68 deaths due to the deadly virus.