Health Policy

Private angle to Govt’s low-cost healthcare for masses

The Indian private health industry is entering into partnerships with state governments to offer low-cost healthcare to masses. Healthcare giants such as the Apollo Group and Wockhardt Hospitals are among those entering into partnerships with various state governments to provide these services. One such example is Wockhardt, looking at delivering primary and secondary healthcare, particularly through select bio-medical services, wherein they will offer back-end support through pathology labs and diagnostic facilities within a government hospital. It will leverage on high volumes to scale down costs. The idea is to support government healthcare system from the back end. The private sector would offer services in areas like diagnostics, where they would operate and maintain medical equipment at government-owned hospitals. The objective is to work on a model without tinkering with the government’s healthcare budget and at the same time, improving the delivery of health services. Apollo Hospitals is also in talks with various state governments for such a venture. The target audience will be low- and middle-income groups. The tab will be picked up by the state government. The plan is to create a separate fund to meet the treatment costs. They have already worked out a similar model in Andhra’s Aarogya Bharati scheme, and are in talks with the government of Gujarat for such an arrangement. The Apollo Group operates four hospitals, which include the Coal India hospital at Bilaspur, Madhya Pradesh, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) hospital at Hyderabad, Raichur hospital in Karnataka and the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) hospital at Bacheli. These hospitals are manned by some 1,500 Apollo Group employees and offer healthcare on a third-party payment arrangement with PSUs or state governments.

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