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KP Assembly to pass a bill to give permanent and legal status  to the Sehat Card Program

A bill has been presented in the ongoing assembly session to give a legal protection to the PTI Government’s flagship free healthcare initiative, the Sehat Card program

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has tabled a landmark bill in the ongoing provincial assembly session to ensure the accessibility of health services to the entire population of the province through a predefined package. “A historical moment in the history of the country as the bill presented on KP Universal Health Coverage Act 2022 in KP Assembly. The bill will be approved during the ongoing session and then no Government in the future will be able to discontinue”, said Health Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Taimur Khan Jhagra. He further added that “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will become the first province of the country to pass the Universal Healthcare Act from the Assembly, already approved by the Cabinet. Sehat Card Plus will become part of Law and no Government will be able to discontinue it in the future.”

The “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universal Health Coverage Act, 2022”, which was recently approved by the provincial cabinet, sought health protection for all families in the province. According to officials, the program has offered Rs25 billion worth of free treatment to 1.1 million people since 2015 when it was introduced in the province through an executive order. The proposed law aims to give legal cover to the program so the people of the province can continuously receive free health services and in the future, no government can overturn it.

The proposed law states that it is expedient to provide for health protection of all the permanent resident families through a systematic approach and clear delineation of roles of key stakeholders towards better performance in the health system and to ensure that all the permanent resident families registered with NADRA are guaranteed equitable access to a predefined package of healthcare services.  It further tells that the Social Health Protection Initiative branded as the Sehat Card-Plus program meant to give universal health coverage to its beneficiaries when and where they need them without financial hardship.

Read more: Sehat Sahulat Program: The incredible story of Universal Health Service

The bill said the computerized national identity card of each beneficiary would serve as the basis of eligibility for availing benefits under the program subject to available budget, all and the beneficiaries of the program would be provided with a basic package of in-patient healthcare services to be determined by the board with the approval of the government. It added that the maximum limit of the basic package, in terms of money, would be fixed by the government on the recommendations of the board.

The insurance firm might, with the approval of the board, offer additional package, which was over and above the basic package, to interested individuals, families and groups on payment of such additional premium, as determined by the government. The employed hospitals would be paid by the insurance firm for the provision of services in a manner, as may be prescribed by regulations,” it said. The proposed law said public hospitals would retain, without loss of budget, all of the additional income to be utilized for the improvement of quality of healthcare services and payment of incentives to the hospital staff in line with the regulations.

Moreover, it added that the policy board would establish a central management information system through a third party to process all information regarding enrolment of beneficiaries, empanelment, admissions, and treatment in hospitals, claims data, beneficiaries’, grievances, and any other information. “A chief executive officer will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the affairs and would exercise such powers and perform such functions as prescribed by regulations or assigned to him or her by the policy board.”

Read more:  Sehat Sahulat Programme KPK

The bill read that a portion of the fund would be specified as Reserve Fund to be used in the manner, as may be prescribed by regulations, for payment of costs exceeding the basic package limit or to cover the cost of those procedures or treatments not covered under the program while the accounts would be audited by the auditor general of Pakistan. Besides that, it states that the policy board would render all-out support to the Auditor General’s Office while carrying out the program’s accounts.

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