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Karnataka Health Department Expands Arogya Scheme

The Karnataka health department is planning to expand the Arogya scheme. The move is expected to cost the exchequer an additional expenditure of over ₹1000 crore. The government is expected to issue the Arogya Karnataka cards only by 2019. Efforts are being put in place to increase the offering of Arogya Karnataka to 33 hospitals in the district and taluk areas in September from the current 10 medical facilities available in Bengaluru alone. Arogya Karnataka scheme is on similar lines that of the Union government’s Universal Healthcare. It will now increase the annual health coverage of the annual ₹1.5 lakh to 2 lakhs annually for a family of five to ₹5 lakh a year per family. The move according to the Karnataka health minister Shivananda Patil is expected to provide access to healthcare across for all diseases and disorders. The revised format of Arogya Karnataka will be placed before the state Cabinet for a formal approval. The scheme was envisaged to offer healthcare financial assistance to 1.43 crore families where ₹30,000 annually is given for a complex secondary healthcare treatment to a family of up to five members.

In the event of a family requiring specified tertiary care treatment, this annual limit will be increased to ₹1.5 lakh a year. For any family needing specific emergency tertiary healthcare treatment even after they use up the annual limit, the government is now chipping in an additional assistance of ₹50,000. Karnataka Integrated Public Health Policy, 2017 envisages health for all. The services in government hospitals have improved significantly in the last 5 years. Bed capacity has been increased considerably in government hospitals. An amount of ₹1429 crore has been spent for construction of 949 new buildings and for renovation of 306 buildings. There will be 20 new mother and child hospitals (MCH) and 150 primary extension clinics have been established. The state has appointed 2316 specialist doctors and 2805 doctors. Number of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) increased from 30,000 to 39,000.

The beneficiaries can sign up for the scheme using the Aadhaar cards and below the poverty line identities. Whenever a patient requires treatment, he can go to the hospital. This is because the roll out to taluka level hospitals, community healthcare centers (CHCs) and primary healthcare centers (PHCs) was estimated to be completed this year by September 30, October 31 and December 31 respectively. The first phase, it will be implemented in only 10 hospitals: KC General Hospital, Jaya Sri Jayadeva Institute of cardiology and research, PMSSY, Victoria Campus, Mandya Institute of Medical sciences, Mcgann Institute of Medical Sciences, Shivamogga, Wenlock District Hospital, Mangaluru, Karnataka Institute of Medical sciences, Hubballi, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalburgi and Vijayanagara Institute of Medical sciences, Bellari. In the next phase, it will be rolled out in 33 major and district level hospitals. – PharmaBiz