State to allow treatment of 132 ailments only in government hospitals under Arogyasri

The decision by the State government to allow treatment of 132 ailments covered under the Arogyasri scheme only in government hospitals is being seen as a major setback for private hospitals, nursing homes and at least half a dozen super speciality hospitals that are in the pipeline in the city.

Andhra Pradesh Nursing Homes Association president P. Vishweswara Rao talking to The Hindu on Wednesday said 90 per cent of the work load would now go to the Government General Hospitals. But, for cardiac procedures, cancer and trauma, common ailments like appendicitis, gall bladder and thyroid disorders, hernia, hysterectomy and disc (spine) disorders would in future be treated at the government hospitals only.

Giving figures he said out of the 11 lakh procedures done under Arogyasri scheme in the last four years 5.5 lakh (50 per cent) ailments were in the 132 diseases short-listed to be treated only at the government hospitals. The figure 132 may appear small compared to the full list of 962 ailments, but the rest of the diseases were relatively rare, he said.

Only time would tell if the government hospitals were equipped to cope with the sudden increase in rush, Dr. Vishweswara Rao said.

Sudden rush

None of the government hospitals had the infrastructure to meet the sudden rush and even the best of the government hospitals in the State was in a position to offer Arogyasri patients the comfort the private hospitals and nursing homes were providing them.

Cases were being taken up under the Arogyasri programme in the government hospitals because doctors were paid incentive under the scheme.

The monthly income of a doctor earning a salary of Rs. 60,000 went up to Rs.3 lakh because of the incentives. This was a big motivational factor for the government doctors to take up Arogyasri cases. The paramedics were also being coxed to work because of the big benefit.

Arogysri patients were till now enjoying the benefit of the competition between the private hospitals.

The government hospitals too felt the competition and were contributing their mite.

The decision of the State government to allow only the government hospitals to treat the common ailments would definitely tip the balance with the poor people being the ultimate sufferers, Dr. Vishweswara Rao said.

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