The health ministry on Sunday said that the private sector healthcare workers dealing with coronavirus patients will also be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance scheme recently announced by the government.
This will include private hospital staff, local urban bodies, contract, daily wage workers, outsourced staff requisitioned by states, central hospitals, autonomous hospitals, AIIMS, among others.
The government has notified a personal accident cover of ₹50 lakh for a period of three months to 22.12 lakh public healthcare workers who are at high risk of contracting coronavirus as they are in direct contact with patients exposed to the disease. This will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting covid-19.
The health ministry, however, pointed out that while private sector healthcare workers will be a part of the insurance cover, such cases will also be covered subject to the numbers indicated by the ministry.
The insurance scheme will be funded through the health ministry’s NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) budget. “Actual payment by the insurance company to the beneficiary will be under certification of the authorised central/state government officials and the insurance provided under the scheme would be over and above any other insurance cover being availed by the beneficiary,” the ministry said.
As special provisions for frontline workers handling the covid-19 crisis in the country the finance ministry on Thursday announced Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Insurance scheme for health workers fighting covid-19 in hospitals and healthcare centres.
According to the finance ministry, safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered by a medical insurance scheme. “If any health professional, who while treating covid-19 patients, meets with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of ₹50 lakh under the scheme,” Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said.
All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as states would be covered under this scheme approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic, she had said.
The healthcare fraternity has welcomed the move. “The government’s announcement of ₹50 lakh as insurance cover for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the Covid 19 battle will reassure all the healthcare workers currently fighting this war that the government has their back,” said Shankar Narang, COO, Paras Healthcare, a chain of hospitals.
The government must ensure that there is adequate protective gear for doctors and healthcare workers, Narang said, adding that no medical staff must be sent at the frontline of this war without adequate protective gear and equipment,” he said.
“The initiative surely brings in the sentiment of safety and security among the workers and their families as well. In such times where fear among their families is prevailing, such initiatives will surely boost the morale and motivate the EMS workforce,” said Manish Sacheti, Chief Financial Officer, Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, a Mumbai, India-based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider.