Representational image. Courtesy: Deccan Chronicle
Niti Aayog and the Union ministry for health and family welfare have proposed a model contract to increase the role of private hospitals in treating non-communicable diseases in urban India, according to an exclusive report published on Scroll.
The proposed contract which has been circulated to the states for their comments proposes 30 year lease arrangements with private hospitals allowing them to share parts of existing district hospital facilities and also to make land available to set up 50- to 100-bed hospitals in towns other than the eight largest metropolises.
The proposed contract envisages the private hospitals to provide secondary and tertiary medical treatment for cancer, heart diseases and respiratory tract ailments. For patients covered by government insurance schemes, the private hospitals will charge according to government approved rates while other patients will be charged at “full rates”.
The district government hospital will be expected to share its ambulance services, blood blank, physiotherapy services, bio-medical waste disposal system, mortuary services, parking facilities, electricity load, in-patient payment counters and hospital security with the private enterprise running out of its campus, the contract say.
Since health as a subject falls under the purview of state governments, the Centre sees its role as limited to providing a template that interested state governments may adopt.
The issue of how much space the state should cede to private health service providers has been a contentious issue within the BJP-led government at the Centre. According to the Scroll report, the first draft of the National Health Policy prepared by the health ministry’s steering committee in 2015 had advocated higher government investment on public health. It saw the private sector playing a limited role for a limited period and advocated a free universal public health system. The Niti Ayog however argued that the idea of free health care was a “chimera” given the budgetary and manpower constraints of the government.
The issue of the role if any of the private sector in the field of public health was a contentious issue during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government too.
Read the full report on Scroll.