Leading healthcare providers Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare have said private sector can play a key role in ensuring quality healthcare in the country as it lauded the National Health Protection Scheme announced by the government.
"In my view, this scheme is different from earlier schemes, as for the first time, we have meaningful coverage – Rs 5 Lakhs of cover for a family can truly give them access to cover a range of secondary and tertiary services," Apollo Hospitals MD Suneeta Reddy said in a statement.
Definitely, the private sector will need to play a key role in ensuring the delivery of quality care, she added. "The private sector is committed to engaging with the Government, in the true spirit of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) and develop innovative models of collaboration to ensure that the beneficiaries get the care they deserve," Reddy said.
The funding challenge can be overcome by a phased and multi-pronged approach including state government involvement, cess inflows, and spreading of risk through insurance and reinsurance, she added.
Scheme modalities must ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of care that is offered, Reddy said adding several schemes in the past were unsuccessful because the sub-scheme rates were unviable.
"Digitisation gives us the option of effectively using technology to run an end-to-end seamless, cashless scheme to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims and to ensure timely payments to private providers," she added.
Speaking in similar vein, Fortis Healthcare CEO Bhavdeep Singh hailed the move that the government has made to provide an assurance of quality healthcare.
"A longstanding demand of the healthcare industry has been to improve the healthcare insurance cover in the country and this is certainly a good step," he added.
The government, which is at the forefront in providing healthcare solution in the country, must work closely with the private healthcare through public private partnerships (PPP) platforms so that a sick person from a remote location does not have to travel long distances to avail quality healthcare, Singh said. Towards this end, it is vital to give due importance in building capacity in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of the country, he added.
"The private healthcare has the requisite expertise and skill sets to ensure that the effort by the government trickles down to people. As much as 70 per cent of the healthcare in India is provided by the private sector," Singh said.
There is a great need to develop the tertiary care centres and modernise existing secondary care hospitals. With the support from the government, the industry should be able to do this and bring quality world-class healthcare closer to the common man, he added.
"It has always been rued about less number of doctors and other healthcare professionals that the country produces. There is also an urgent need to improve the doctor patient density in the country," Singh said.