‘Ayushman Bharat, Arogya Karnataka’ finally takes off

Bengaluru:  Ending months of confusion, the State Government finally integrated the Centrally sponsored ‘Ayushman Bharath’ scheme with the Karnataka Government’s ‘Arogya Karnataka’ initiative, enabling people with Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards to avail medical assistance up to Rs.5 lakh per year. It would be Rs.1.50 lakh for Above Poverty Line (APL) families.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru yesterday, Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar said the State Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Central Government on Oct. 31, which will help poor people to avail the medical facilities.

Though the MoU was signed Oct.30, the government had deferred the announcement due to the election code of conduct which was in place then. Within 11 days after signing the MoU, 2,931 operations have been conducted under this scheme across the State, he said.

The government has directed the affiliated private hospitals to take up cases even without cards. The new scheme will be extended to around 4.4 crore people belonging to around 1.2 crore BPL families, Shivakumar said. Even daily wagers can get free treatment under the scheme.

At the moment, 531 private hospitals, along with 385 government hospitals are affiliated under this scheme. Barring an emergency, the beneficiaries should exhaust the option of government hospitals before going to private hospitals.

People can avail emergency medical services under it even without the ‘Arogya Karnataka’ card which is being distributed. The process of issuing Arogya Karnataka cards is still taking place. It is not mandatory for availing emergency medical services, said the Minister.

While urging people to procure health cards from designated centres, the Minister clarified that people who do not have health cards can also avail treatment.

Apart from Karnataka, for people living in border areas of the State, the government has entered into agreement with around 36 hospitals in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

The government has classified health procedures under three categories: 2A (simple and secondary treatment, mostly at the government hospitals), 2B (minor emergencies to be treated at private hospitals if government ones are not equipped for such procedures) and 3 (tertiary care to be treated at empanelled private hospitals). It has also categorized 169 medical  procedures as emergencies for which patients can be taken either to a government or a private hospital.

“To create awareness, we will conduct a workshop for representatives of government hospitals on Nov. 20 and for private hospitals on Nov. 27,” Shivakumar said. While the Centre bears 60% of the cost, the State contribution to the scheme is 40%. Around 1,614 types of diseases come under this scheme.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE SCHEME

  • The universal health scheme will cover 1.15 crore below the poverty line families and 19 lakh above poverty line families
  • No patient needs a health card (called AB-ARKID Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka ID) in advance to avail benefits
  • As and when the patient gets admitted to a hospital, AB-ARKIDs can be made for the patient
  • As Karnataka has the Mukhyamantri Harish Santwana Yojane in place for road accident and trauma victims, no emergency treatment at any hospital will be denied, the State will pay Rs. 25,000 for the first 48 hours of treatment
  • Ayushman Bharat-Arogya Karnataka provides Rs. 5 lakh cover per BPL family per year
  • For APL families, the State will fund only 30 per cent of the expenditure and the cap is Rs. 1.5 lakh per family
  • 1,615 secondary and tertiary medical procedures are covered under the scheme
  • For treatment at private hospitals, patients need a referral letter from a government hospital that it does not have the capacity to treat
  • There are totally 916 odd hospitals under which patients can get treatment out of which 490 odd hospitals are private

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