New Delhi:The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the re-structuring of existing National Health Agency as “National Health Authority" with an aim to efficiently implement Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). With this, the existing society, “National Health Agency", has been dissolved and its status now stands enhanced to that of an Authority.

The National Health Authority shall have full autonomy, accountability and the mandate to implement PM-JAY through an efficient, effective and transparent decision-making process. Dubbed as “Modicare" the PM-JAY, is being described as the world’s largest health insurance scheme. It is a cashless and paperless access to health services up to Rs. 5 lakhs per year to poor and vulnerable people identified as per the socio economic caste census.

“The world’s largest healthcare scheme rightfully deserves the most efficient and effective governance structure with total accountability," said J P Nadda, Minister for Health and Family Welfare.

The government said that creation of the National Health Authority will lead to more effective implementation of PM-JAY as it will align the accountability with responsibility. With the authority, faster decision-making will be done, as the multi-layered structure has been simplified and the role of the Authority has been clarified.

Availability of quality services will be there as the Authority will be able to specify treatment protocols and enforce their compliance. Government said that there will be reduction in leakages as the Authority will have stronger mandate to prevent, detect and control frauds and abuse and redress grievances. Government is also looking at increase in private sector investment in healthcare services, as the Authority will have the clear mandate to be a strategic purchaser and be able to set appropriate rates.

“The existing multi-tier governance structure has been replaced with a Governing Board (GB) chaired by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare with representation from the Government and domain experts. Since the Authority is now fully autonomous, the post of Joint Secretary (NHA/ Ayushman Bharat) will be transferred from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to the National Health Authority," Indu Bhushan, Chief Executive Officer, NHA said.

“The creation of the National Health Authority will lead to faster decision-making and more accountability and efficiency to ensure availability of quality services to beneficiary families through strategic purchase of healthcare services, preparation of list of health packages and their rates, robust fraud control and increase in private sector investment in healthcare," he said.

PM-JAY completed 100 days of implementation on 31st December 2018. So far, 41.5 lakh e-cards have issued to the beneficiaries with more than 6.95 lakh beneficiaries having availed services under PM-JAY through a network of 16,157 empaneled (and in process) hospitals, amounting to the tune of Rs. 924 crores.