Telangana integrates Arogyasri scheme with Ayushman Bharat

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has integrated its Arogyasri scheme for free medical treatment of poor, with the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), clearing the decks for implementation of the central scheme in the state.

The state Medical and Health department signed an MoU with the National Health Authority following Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to join the Central government scheme.

Accordingly, the state Medical and Health Department finalised the guidelines for the implementation of Ayushman Bharat in the state, the Chief Minister’s Office said.

The CM instructed the officials concerned to ensure extending of the medical services in tune with the guidelines. Principal Secretary (Medical and Health) S.A.M. Rizvi and Aarogyasri Health Care Trust CEO issued the orders accordingly.

Rizvi directed CEO Aarogyasri Health Care Trust, Hyderabad to ensure treatment of patients in empaneled hospitals across the state is taken up as per the converged scheme of Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY-Arogyasri with immediate effect.

After rejecting Ayushman Bharat scheme for more than two years, the state government in December last year had announced it decided to dovetail the state’s Arogyasri scheme with the Centre’s programme.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar had informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the videoconference that thee Chief Minister has taken a decision to combine the two.

The state government’s decision came as a surprise as it has been maintaining that Arogyasri scheme is comprehensive and better than Ayushman Bharat.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been criticising the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government for not implementing Ayushman Bharat, and thus depriving people of Telangana of the benefits of the scheme, which provides Rs 5 lakh health coverage.

Rejecting Ayushman Bharat in favour of Aarogyasri medical health cover scheme for the poor, KCR, as the Chief Minister is known popularly, had stated in the Assembly in 2019 that the state government is not interested in wasting public money on those central schemes which are not beneficial to the people.

While presenting the state budget, he had claimed that Arogyasri was more beneficial and had a wider outreach than the Ayushman Bharat scheme and that the government is spending Rs 1,336 crore a year to help 85.34 lakh families.

With Ayushman Bharat, it is possible for the state to provide medical benefits only to the extent of Rs 250 crore a year benefiting only 26 lakh families, he had said.

KCR had also claimed that through Arogyasri, the state government is extending services relating to 25 distinct organ transplant procedures free of cost which is not available under Ayushman Bharat scheme.