The State Governments of various states of India work constantly for the welfare of its people. One aspect towards which the government pool in their efforts includes enhancing the health care services for the people of the states. One such scheme launched by the State Government of West Bengal is the Swasthya Sathi Scheme. It works with the aim of providing universal health protection for the residents of West Bengal. Till now more than 2 crore families have been covered under the scheme, and more than 21 lakh beneficiaries have been able to avail government’s affordable healthcare service through the Swasthya Sathi Scheme.
What Is The Swasthya Sathi Scheme?
On the 30th of December, 2016, Honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Mamta Banerjee launched the Swasthya Sathi Scheme. Swasthya Sathi scheme was launched to provide health care coverage to a large section of society. The Swasthya Sathi Scheme primarily targets the low earning workers and also workers who are associated with several schemes, programmes, and projects being administered by the Departments of the State Government. Even though a large segment of the population is availing health care services in public hospitals which have the facility of free treatment, there are still many patients who turn to private hospitals despite the high cost of treatment, for secondary and tertiary care in these hospitals.
Therefore, through the scheme, the State Government has taken efforts to make health infrastructure more resilient and thereby improve the health conditions of the residents. The scheme is dedicated to reducing the vulnerability of poverty-stricken individuals to falling into the trap of expensive healthcare services by private hospitals. It introduces Fair Price Medicine Shops, Fair Price Diagnostic Centre, and Critical Care Unit within a radius of 50 kilometers by establishing Super Specialty Hospitals in rural and semi-urban areas.
Through the scheme, the State Government has taken the initiative to form the Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission in order to ensure that the residents get quality services at affordable prices. All of this together has resulted in the introduction of the group health protection scheme ‘Swasthya Sathi’.
Main Features And Functionality Of The Swasthya Sathi Scheme
The scheme has various important features which are noteworthy. These are mentioned below along with the key functionalities.
- Cover for Pre-Existing Diseases: Right from day one, all the existing illnesses and health syndromes are covered for the beneficiaries under this scheme.
- Up to 5 Lakhs Covered: The basic health care coverage for the secondary and tertiary types of treatment or care is up to 5 lakhs per annum for each family.
- No Cap on Family Size: Under the Swasthya Sathi Scheme, the family size has no cap, and the scheme covers parents of both spouses. If there is any dependent, physically challenged individual in the family, they are also covered under this scheme.
- Women Empowerment: All smart cards issued under the scheme are issued in the name of the Woman Head of the family or the eldest woman in the family as the Head of the Family.
- No Contribution Required from the Beneficiary: The beneficiary is not required to make any contributions for the card cost or towards the insurance premium. The entire premium as well as the production cost of the smart cards is entirely handled by the Government of West Bengal State.
- Smart Card Based Transactions: All transactions carried out under the Swasthya Sathi Scheme are Smart Card based transactions. All the services are provided in Paperless and Cashless form. 64kb Smart Cards used for the transactions have digitally encrypted data that is printed on the card. It has the details of the family members along with their photographs, biometrics, contact numbers, address, and more. These are distributed to all beneficiaries during the enrollment phase. Smart Cards also get renewed automatically every year and are valid for a lifetime.
- IT Platform: The complete scheme system is a cloud-based IT platform and completely paperless. This helps in providing services rapidly to beneficiaries and is helpful in saving time and various resources.
- Transparent Grading System: The scheme follows a transparent and fair system of grading the hospitals. Grading is based on the marks allotted to the hospitals. The allotment of marks is on the basis of facilities and varied services provided by the hospitals and these are also verified physically by Insurance Companies or the 3rd party administrator. There is an Empanelment Committee for approving the grade and after this, the hospital gets impaneled under the scheme. All medical colleges are also impaneled under the scheme.
- Cashless Hospitalization: The scheme provides for hospitalization matters and that too is completely cashless. Expenditures incurred are provided to beneficiaries. These include consultation charges, diagnostic tests, and medication cost up to 1-day prior to admitting the patient, and the cost of medication till 5 days once the patient is discharged from a hospital for ailment or surgery purposes.
- SMS Alerts: Beneficiaries receive SMS alerts at the time of hospitalization as well as while being discharged.
- Swasthya Sathi Mobile Application: The Swasthya Sathi mobile application is available on the Play Store and the app can be easily downloaded. Beneficiaries can raise a query for obtaining any information or for getting any grievances resolved. The mobile application also has a one-touch function for connecting you with the 24*7 Helpline.
- 24*7 Call Support: The toll-free call centres are operational for 24*7 call support. The number – 18003455384 can be seen on the back of every Smart Card.
- Transport Allowance: The scheme also covers the cost of transportation after the patient is discharged. The amount is payable at that time.
- E-Health Records: The patient’s e-Health Records are stored on the server. These can be used for consultation purposes in the future whenever required by doctors or physicians. The beneficiaries can access these records by simply logging into their accounts.
- Online Grievance Portal: All stakeholders and beneficiaries can publish their grievances on the online portal of the Scheme Swasthya Sathi.
- User-friendly Website: The official website of the Scheme https://swasthyasathi.gov.in/ is user-friendly and highly interactive. The option ‘May I Help You’ is available to the users for raising any general queries. Unregistered individuals can easily check the eligibility criteria, register themselves, and you can obtain all scheme-related information on the official website.
Swasthya Sathi Scheme 2022: Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria for applying under the Swasthya Sathi Scheme are as follows:
- The applicant should be a permanent resident of the Indian state of West Bengal.
- The applicant should not be registered under any other health-related programmes or schemes.
- If the applicant comes under BPL (Below Poverty Line), he or she is eligible for applying as a beneficiary under the scheme.
- The Smart Card which is issued under the Swasthya Sathi Scheme is issued under the name of the Woman Head of the family. This is done to encourage women’ empowerment.
- Lastly, the applicant must possess all the required documents which are authentic and valid, or else they will not be able to register themselves as a beneficiary under this scheme.
Documents Required For Registering Under Swasthya Sathi Scheme in 2022
Before filling the application form for registering for this Swasthya Sathi Scheme, the applicant will need the following documents:
- Aadhar Card
- Identity Proof such as the Voter ID card, Driving License, Ration Card, etc.
- Permanent resident proof.
- BPL (Below Poverty Line) Certificate
- Registration Certificate from the medical organization
Swasthya Sathi Scheme 2022: Online Registration Procedure
The State Government started a door-to-door campaign in order to raise awareness about the Swasthya Sathi Scheme and invite applications. The Duare Sarkar Campaign of the West Bengal State Government was an outreach programme through which various services of some specific schemes were delivered to the targeted citizens right at their doorsteps, and this was possible through different camps organized at the Gram Panchayat level or Municipality Ward. Online registration has started under this scheme, the procedure for which is given below:
- Visit the website (official) of the Swasthya Sathi Scheme at https://swasthyasathi.gov.in/
- This opens the Homepage of the scheme.
- Click on the ‘Apply Online’ option as given on the menu bar, encircled in the image below.
- This opens a PDF format form on another page of your browser. This form is shown in the image below.
- You will be required to fill in all the details asked in the form and also attach all the necessary documents.
- After this, click on the ‘Submit’ button. This will complete your registration process.
- Once registration is complete, you will receive a Registration Number. This you should save for future references.
A Final Words
For any queries or grievances, the beneficiaries can reach out to the authorities via the online portal, the mobile application, or the toll-free call number. Unregistered individuals can do the same for solving any doubts and queries. Reach out for their Help Desk from the official website by clicking on the option of ‘Contact Us’. This will take you to a page where all the members who help in the execution of the team are listed along with their contact details. You can reach out to specific individuals in accordance with the nature of your query or grievance. You will also find the presence of this scheme on Whatsapp, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, which makes it easy for you to reach out to the authorities.