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Updated: March 11, 2014 21:55 IST

CGHS: it all boils down to money

M. Sai Gopal
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Corporate hospitals remain out of bounds for patients as they insist on huge advance payments

Despite assertions from Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry officials in New Delhi that Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) - empanelled speciality hospitals are extending cashless treatment to beneficiaries, corporate hospitals here have remained out of bounds for patients.

On Tuesday, officials from AP Super-Speciality Hospitals Association (ASHA) reiterated that there was no change in their stand and cashless treatment will not be extended to beneficiaries.

“We will continue to protest because our position is untenable. We can’t keep spending money on patients and wait endlessly for the government to clear medical bills. The Ministry officials in New Delhi are unnecessarily spreading false information and there have been no talks,” says Secretary, ASHA, Dr. Govind Hari.

Hospitals maintain tough stand

While corporate hospitals maintained a tough stand, the CGHS beneficiaries here point out that they are being unnecessarily made scapegoats.

‘Patients have become scapegoats’

“If we need treatment, then we have to pay the medical bills upfront and approach CGHS for reimbursement. Corporate hospitals are notorious for inflated bills and it’s difficult for us to pay such huge amounts upfront. In the fight between managements and corporate hospitals, patients have become scapegoats,” says Prabhakar Naik, a CGHS beneficiary and a representative of senior citizens who are included in the CGHS scheme.

Beneficiaries also maintain that denying admissions in corporate hospitals is nothing new. “It’s a very old trick of speciality hospitals to deny admissions. For example, not a single hospital admits working or retired employees from the Postal Department on the pretext that the reimbursement of medical bills is delayed,” says Vithal Rao, a postal employee.

The managements said that the MoU signed between CGHS and private hospitals clearly states that medical bills will be cleared within 10 days.

“At present, there are nearly Rs. 200 crore worth of pending medical bills across the country, yet to be cleared by the CGHS,” ASHA members claimed.

Meanwhile, patients demanded that the issue be solved at the earliest.

“Why should patients suffer? In medical emergencies what will the hapless CGHS patients and their families do? They don’t have many options but to pay up the huge monies upfront,” beneficiaries rued.

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