Employee State Insurance (ESI) is the first self-financing health insurance cum social security scheme launched for the working class (with monthly income below Rs.15000/-) in Independent India. It is a social security provision made by the Government of India under the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESI Act) to counterbalance or negate the physical or financial distress resulting from certain health related eventualities that the workers are generally exposed to, such as sickness, maternity, temporary or permanent disablement, occupational disease or death due to employment injury, resulting in loss of wages or earning capacity-total or partial. This social security programme is administered by an apex corporate body called the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) alongside various state governments.
To enhance the coverage and improvisation of health services of ESI Scheme, various initiatives are being taken. These Reforms are part of a series of “2nd Generation Reforms Agenda” named as ‘ESIC-2.0’ and was launched on 20 July 2015. It is going to be implemented within a stipulated time. Health Reforms Agenda of ESIC 2.0 include:
- Online availability of Electronic Health Record of ESI Beneficiaries (Insured Persons and their family members); Under “Project Panchdeep”, the ESI Corporation has undertaken the computerization of its core activities and its records. The health records of the ESI Beneficiaries (Insured Persons covered under the ESI Act and their family members), are being preserved in electronic form. Now, these health records will be made available to the insured persons & his/her family members on-line. The records will also include laboratory reports in digital form and there will be no need to visit the hospital for getting the required information.
- Special cleanliness drive as part of Swachh Bharat Mission: eg.Paper rolls will be used on the examination bed in the doctors’ chambers, all the ESIC Hospitals have been directed to complete white-washing, painting of the building along with minor repair, cleaning of toilets etc.
- Abhiyan Indradhanush (Abhiyan means campaign and Indradhanush means rainbow in Hindi): Ensuring the change of bedsheet every day according to VIBGYOR pattern during the week i.e. bedsheets to be changed every day as per the colours of the rainbow i.e. Sunday - Violet, Monday - Indigo, Tuesday - Blue, Wednesday - Green, Thursday - Yellow, Friday - Orange and Saturday - Red. This scheme has started from 20 July, 2015 in all ESIC Hospitals;
- Medical Helpline No. 1800 11 3839 for emergency and seeking guidance from casualty/emergency of ESIC Hospitals: From 20 July, 2015, the ESI Corporation has started a 24x7 Helpline No.1800 11 3839 for attending the calls of Insured Persons and their family members who wish to seek advice and guidance from casualty/emergency of ESIC Hospitals. In case an Insured Persons calls on 24x7 helpline functioning at ESIC Headquarters Office and desires to have some medical advice in emergency from a doctor, this call will be connected through conference from 24x7 helpline to the emergency of ESIC Hospital of the concerned state and the doctor available in the casualty/emergency will attend the call for needful.
- Special OPD for Sr. Citizens and differently-abled persons in ESIC hospitals: From 20 July, 2015, every hospital of ESIC will be operating Special OPD every day in the afternoon from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for senior citizens/differently abled patients.
Other proposed reforms are
- To start ESI schemes in those states where it is missing at present – Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Andaman & Nicobar Islands- by 31 December 2015 and to spread its coverage to whole areas of 393 districts (where it has presence now but only in parts of the district) by March 2016
- To cover all construction workers under ESI Scheme by 31 December 2015
- To bring auto-rikshaw drivers etc. under ESI by 31 December 2015
- To provide dialysis, cardiological and cancer treatment facilities by 31 December 2015
- Extension of AYUSH and Yoga facilities in ESIC hospitals
- Create Tele-medicine facilities by March 2016
- Improvement in patient care in ESI hospitals