Chennai: The private healthcare sector and medical equipment manufacturers have something to cheer about this year's budget. The Budget has announced viability gap funding for hospitals in PPP mode and smaller cities and levied cess on imported medical equipments to promote domestic manufacturing.
The viability gap funding window will be provided to hospitals which are setting up centres in tier II and III cities. The first phase will cover the 112 aspirational districts.
“Presently, under PM Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) there are more than 20,000 empanelled hospitals. We need more in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities for poorer people under this scheme. It is proposed to set up Viability Gap funding window for setting up hospitals in the PPP mode. In the first phase, those Aspirational Districts will be covered, where presently there are no Ayushman empanelled hospitals,' said Minister of Finance, Nirmala Sitharaman.
"Setting up of more hospital infrastructure in Tier-II and III cities under PPP model via viability gap funding, will further be a boost for the healthcare ecosystem and benefit the underprivileged families which were devoid of basic medical facilities. India has recorded highest out of pocket expenditure on healthcare, as compared to other developing countries.
The measures proposed in the budget will support to regulate the gap and play an important role in making health a priority for one and all and creating further awareness for health insurance, Ashish Mehrotra, MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance.
In order to fund this, the government will impose a nominal health cess, by way of a duty of customs, on the imports of medical equipment and use the proceeds for creating infrastructure for health services in the aspirational districts.
This will also promote the domestic manufacturing of medical equipments. Medical equipments will also be part of "Network Products" which are being promoted for exports.
Aiming at addressing the shortage of qualified medical doctors, the Budget proposed to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode. Those states that fully allow the facilities of the hospital to the medical college and wish to provide land at a concession, would be able to receive Viability Gap Funding.
The government will encourage large hospitals with sufficient capacity to offer resident doctors fellow of National Board (DNB/FNB) courses under the National Board of Examinations, Jan Aushadhi Kendra Scheme to all districts offering 2000 medicines and 300 surgicals by 2024. The Budget has allocated Rs 69,000 crore for health care and this includes Rs 6400 crores for Prime Minister Jan Arogya Yojana.