Officers accuse hospitals of treating them shabbily

A traffic constable, who has put in more than 10 years of service, was in for a shock when he accompanied his wife, who also works in the department, to a private hospital for treatment of her mother for cancer few weeks ago. Being covered under the Aarogya Bhagya scheme, Mr. Sampath sought admission of his mother-in law to the semi private ward as per the State government’s notification. But his mother-in-law was sent to free ward meant for poor patients.

“Last time too they did the same and I filed a complaint before the Police Commissioner. As there is no change in the attitude of the hospital, we did not pursue it. We are not getting facilities that we are eligible for under the scheme,” the constable said.

This constable has been among the many that are unhappy over the improper implementation of the scheme meant to provide better healthcare for police personnel and their family members. “Rs. 100 is deducted from the salary of every policeman every month. But the way hospitals treat us is disgusting,” said another constable who did not like reveal his name.

A senior police constable deputed at the office of the Police Commissioner said he was asked to pay Rs. 6,000 after 40 days of treatment for an accident. “No receipt was issued for this payment. I was then made to sign on a form related to the scheme. No information was given to me about the expenses incurred on the 40 days of treatment,” the constable said.

Another constable, who has put in nearly two decades of service, said no information has been provided to the personnel about the treatments covered and procedures to avail them.

A senior police officer also had to bear the brunt of such callousness. “My wife underwent treatment in July 2012. In February I was informed that the treatment is not covered under the scheme. Now I am trying to mobilise funds to clear the bill of the hospital,” the officer said.

Delayed payment

However, he feels police need to be thankful to these hospitals for giving treatment despite delay in clearing the bills, he added.

He said there has been delay from the Police Headquarters in processing the claims related the treatment. An official from the office of the Police Commissioner said as of now they were clearing bills submitted in June.

The Aarogya Bhagya Scheme was introduced to enable police personnel get treatment in private hospitals. |The five networked hospitals in Mangalore include A.J. Hospital, Father Muller Hospital, Yenepoya Hospital and Athena Hospital.

According to information provided by the Mangalore Police, the number of police personnel subscribing the scheme has increased from 725 in January 2011 to 1,071 in February 2012. The subscription amount collected so far has been Rs. 17.27 lakh. As many as 189 police personnel got treatment under the scheme in 2011 followed by 248 personnel in 2012. In the first two months, 49 police personnel have availed treatment.

Additional Director General of Police (Crime and Technical Services) Ashit M. Prasad claimed there were no complaint from the police about the scheme. “Our record has been excellent,” he said.

Mr. Prasad agreed that there was delay in processing claims. “There has been increase in the volume of claims following inclusion of parents as beneficiaries from last year.”

Mr. Prasad said his department has cleared bills till December 2012. The process was on to select a new agency to scrutinise claims.

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