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Private hospitals finally beat Covid blues | India News


NEW DELHI: Hospital admissions that had declined significantly due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the country early this year have started picking up with the private healthcare sector gaining momentum to even surpass pre-Covid levels, data from Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme show.
So far, during the ongoing October-December quarter, 21.36 lakh patients have been admitted to hospitals under the scheme, up 56% as compared to 13.7 lakh during April-June. Of the total 21.36 lakh admissions, the private sector accounted for 12.54 lakh or 58.70% hospitalisations.
When compared with the pre-Covid period, hospitalisations in the private sector during the last three months is up by 10.6% as compared to 11.33 lakh during the same period (Oct-Dec) last year.

However, overall hospitalisations under the scheme are still slightly below pre-Covid level as admissions in public sector are lower. Around 23.53 lakh hospital admissions — together in public and private sector — were recorded under the insurance scheme during October-December last year.
Hospitalisation in government hospitals remains low as compared to pre-Covid time. During ongoing October-December quarter, 8.82 lakh admissions were recorded in public sector, as compared to 12.20 lakh in the same period a year ago. However, the numbers are better as compared to around 7 lakh admissions during April-June after the pandemic hit the country.
India reported the first confirmed case of Covid-19 on January 30 and a nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which imposed travel restrictions. It also impacted the health-seeking behaviour amid the fear of infection as many health facilities were diverted to cater to Covid patients.
Services in private healthcare sector were impacted as many had initially stopped services after the Covid-19 outbreak. “A large share of beds in government hospitals have been dedicated for Covid patients. There is also a tendency among beneficiaries of the scheme to go to private hospitals due to fear of infection,” Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive of National Health Authority said.
He added the private sector gaining momentum in last few months has also helped hospitalisation pick up pace. So far, over 71,000 patients have received Covid treatments and over 6.86 lakh Covid tests have been conducted under the scheme.
There are 24,155 hospitals empanelled under the AB-PMJAY scheme where beneficiaries can seek care with a free health cover of Rs 5 lakh per annum. While 45% of the hospitals are in the private sector, so far 54% of 1.5 crore hospitalisation were in private hospitals.
The AB-Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) is touted as the world’s largest government-run health insurance scheme. So far, 12.79 crore e-cards have been issued under the scheme.
The NHA data show Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have recorded largest number of hospitalisations under the scheme in last over two years since its inception in September 2018.

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