Usa Free treatment scheme led to upgradation of health services

Usa Free treatment scheme led to upgradation of health services

Free treatment scheme led to upgradation of health services 

PESHAWAR: The launch of Sehat Card Plus programme by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has not only benefited 1.2 million patients to avail free treatment so far but has also led to upgradation of health services and establishment of new hospitals in the province, according to an audit report conducted by third party. Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra told a news conference here on Monday that the audit, carried out by Baker Tilly Mehmood Idrees Qamar and Co, covered the period from November 2020 to June 2021 and looked at the performance, process and compliance of the programme and made recommendations for further improvement. Flanked by Dr Mohammad Riaz Tanoli, the chief of Social Health Protection Initiative, he said that cauterisation laboratories were established in remote districts including Lower Dir, Chitral, Swat, Mardan and Swabi. Prior to the launch of the programme, only one laboratory operated in Peshawar. The launch of the programme also led to establishment of 26 new hospitals to enable the patients to seek treatment in their native districts in addition to helping the people to avail costly services like oncology, kidney transplant, ICU, Covid-19 treatment, liver transplant, dialysis and cardiology. Minister says third party audit recommends scaling up awareness among people about the programme “It has also reduced out-of-pocket expenditures by people for investigation and treatment,” said the minister. He said that a total of 70 renal and 14 liver transplants, costing Rs1.4 million and Rs5 million respectively, were carried out under the programme. “Under the flagship programme, branded as Sehat Card Plus, we have extended the services of cashless treatment to 7.7 million residents of the province regardless of their financial status,” he said. Mr Jhagra said that as national identity card was mandatory to stand eligible and avail services under the programme, registration of people by National Database and Registration Authority increased. It has also increased tax collection from the empanelled hospitals as registration was mandatory for tax-paying hospitals, he said. “The hospitals have invested more to upgrade their services to get empaneled in their bid to earn more revenue from the programme which has benefited the population,” he said. The audit, completed one year ago, has also made recommendations for scaling up awareness level about the programme, putting in place radiological and pathological services, 24/7 availability of pharmacy services, informing people about termination of the empanelled hospitals for violating the contracts, allowing the approved consultants for treatment and inclusion of empanelled hospital in the data, which has already been met. The auditors inspected about 1,115 empanelled hospitals nationwide, including 203 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to ascertain information regarding the programme. The minister claimed that the programme launched provincial government was way ahead of developed countries like the US, Canada, China, Germany according to findings of the audit. He said that citizen perception survey was also part of the audit, which showed that 97 per cent people were satisfied while 96 per cent said that their out-of-pocket expenditures reduced due to the system. He said that accessibility of 94 per cent people to healthcare services was increased. The minister said that behaviour of 94 per cent staff at the receptions of Sehat Card Plus at the hospitals was found satisfactory as many people termed the treatment services up to the desired level whereas 93 per cent appreciated quality of treatment. He said that of the total patients treated under the programme, 52 per cent were women. The average cost was Rs54,427 per patient. He said that under the programme, each family was entitled to spend Rs1 million per year. The private hospitals got 66 per cent share from the amount spent by the government through State Life Insurance Corporation under the programme, he said. “The government has passed Universal Coverage Act to give legal coverage to the programme for free treatment of all people. The audit firm also looked into the payments to empanelled hospitals and reported transparency,” said the minister. Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022

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