Low investment in health sector’s private domain; stimulus could be game-changer: VK Paul

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June 29, 2021 4:01 PM

Investment in the expansion of the health sector in private domain has been relatively low and the recent stimulus announced by the government provides the country an opportunity to change this situation, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said.

While adequate information exists on for-profit healthcare providers and institutions, there is a dearth of reliable and structured information on their not-for-profit counterparts.

Investment in the expansion of the health sector in private domain has been relatively low and the recent stimulus announced by the government provides the country an opportunity to change this situation, Niti Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said on Tuesday.  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional credit for small and medium businesses, more funds for the healthcare sector, loans to tourism agencies and guides, and waiver of visa fee for foreign tourists as part of a package to support the pandemic-hit economy.

The government will also provide Rs 23,220 crore of additional funding for setting up children and paediatric care/beds at hospitals to prepare them for any emergency arising out of a possible third wave of COVID. “There has been relatively low investment in the expansion of the health sector in the private domain.The stimulus announced yesterday provides us an opportunity to change this situation,” Paul said while releasing a report titled ‘Not-for-Profit Hospital Model in India’ .

According to an official statement, the report provides insight into the operation model of not-for-profit hospitals. It presents research-based findings on such hospitals — categorized under ownership and premise of service — and makes subsequent comparisons with private hospitals and health schemes of the union government.  According to the statement, while adequate information exists on for-profit healthcare providers and institutions, there is a dearth of reliable and structured information on their not-for-profit counterparts.

“The not-for-profit hospital sector provides not only curative but also preventive healthcare,” the statement said, adding that it links healthcare with social reform, community engagement, and education. The report proposes short-term and long-term policy interventions, such as developing criteria to identify these hospitals, ranking them through a performance index, and promoting top hospitals for practising philanthropy, among others. It also highlights the need to use the expertise of these hospitals in managing human resources with limited finance in remote areas.

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