Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, President (Asia), ACCESS Health International, was recently invited to be a panelist for a session at Arogya Manthan, a two-day event organised by the National Health Authority to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana. Organized on September 25 and 26 in New Delhi, the event focused on universal health coverage, co-payments, pricing, ABDM compliance, beneficiary engagement, and PMJAY’s roadmap among others.

The session in which Dr Reddy participated alongside Dr. Randeep D, Commissioner Health, Govt of Karnataka; Dr. Aspi Minocher, Development Head, Shrimad Rajchandra Hospital and Research Center, Dharampur; and Dr P R Sodani, President, IIHMR University, was titled “Engaging With Providers and Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure.” The session was moderated by Dr Amit Paliwal, Project Director, IGUHC, GIZ and was Chaired by Ms LS Changsan, (AS & MD, NHM) & Additional Secretary, MoHFW.

This crucial discussion aimed to delve deep into strategies that enhance engagement with healthcare providers and fortify the public health infrastructure within the AB-PMJAY (Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) framework, thereby elevating the program’s efficiency, accessibility, and overall impact.

Dr Reddy talk offered insights from both a health system research perspective and a provider’s viewpoint, garnered over his career as a physician and a health systems researcher. “In case of time-sensitive emergencies, like heart attack, if the beneficiary cannot reach an appropriate ICU within 60 minutes, the chances of death increase by 10% for every minute. This has to be kept in perspective when we engage providers” Dr Reddy said while talking about the importance of engaging the right providers.

A highlight of Dr Reddy’s talk was the presentation of learnings from two crucial programs –  the Aarogyasri Scheme in Andhra Pradesh and the PM-JAY experience in the state of Uttar Pradesh where the ACCESS Health team provides technical assistance to SACHIS. Drawing from these experiences, he emphasized the critical distinction between the Payer (represented by NHA & SHA) and the Provider (comprising Government Hospitals). Understanding this distinction is pivotal in ensuring the efficient delivery of healthcare services, particularly in time-sensitive cases when engaging providers is of paramount importance.

Furthermore, Dr Reddy underscored the urgent need to raise awareness among public providers, including teaching hospitals, regarding the benefits of adopting programs like AB-PMJAY. He stressed the significance of creating a partnership model when engaging with the private sector. In this model, private providers are encouraged to embrace their social responsibility, while payers must comprehend the dynamics and nuances of the private healthcare landscape.

During the event there were other sessions that focused on the Best Practices in the AB PMJAY, Encouraging private sector engagement, Best Practices under ABDM, National Health Claims Exchange, Health Data, Empowering Beneficiaries and Strengthening Monitoring Mechanisms and Achieving UHC.

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