Malkangiri : Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched smart health cards under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana to enable around 3.5 crore people to get cashless healthcare services in 200 hospitals in the state and other parts of the country.
On the occasion, he handed over a card to Shukri Dhangada Majhi, a woman belonging to the Bonda tribal community in Malkangiri district.
Around 3.5 crore people of 96 lakh families will be benefited from the new healthcare initiative as women can avail of cashless treatment up to Rs 10 lakh per year and other family members will get the benefit up to Rs 5 lakh each, he said.
The smart health cards will be effective from September 1, he said.
Majhi became the first beneficiary of the smart health card scheme, while other members of the vulnerable tribal group would be given priority to avail of the facility.
At least 1.55 lakh families will be benefited from the initiative in Malkangriri, a tribal-dominated district, Patnaik said.
“I am very happy. Our smart health card will alleviate your grief. The state government will pay for your treatment. So you can save money and spend more for education of your children for the betterment of your families,” the chief minister said.
Describing the programme as a no-frills system, he said a cardholder can avail of all the treatments without any hassle from a listed hospital.
“It”s a historic and paradigm shift in the system of healthcare services in India, where patients will get the best treatment without any expense from their pocket,” Patnaik said.
The initiative can change the face of healthcare services to people in Odisha, he said after launching the programme at a remote place in Malkangiri district.
Patnaik said his government is trying to make sure that money should not be a barrier to treatment. “Whether a patient is a farmer or a miller, a small shopkeeper, or a rickshaw puller or a tribal brother or sister living far away, everyone”s life is precious to me,” he said.
Smart health cards contain detailed information about beneficiaries, and if required, they can update it, an official said.
Patnaik also mentioned that what prompted the state government to raise the amount of coverage of medical expenses for women under the health scheme to Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for men.
“During a programme in 2014, which I attended from Bhubaneswar, a girl proposed to increase the coverage for cost of treatment for mothers under the BSKY. Everyone praised her courage and intelligence that day.
“The girl was Mamata Padiami of Malkangiri. I really liked her proposal and decided to increase the medical treatment cost coverage for women to Rs 10 lakh,” he said. Patiami was present at the programme where smart health cards were distributed.
The chief minister said all health services, including chemotherapy, CT scan, MRI, dialysis and various pathological tests, are being provided for free in all the government hospitals in the state.