With private hospitals demanding a flat 30 per cent of upward revision in Arogyasri treatment rates and the Health and Medical Department insisting on revision based on unit cost, another round of meeting has been convened on April 15.

While the Andhra Pradesh Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (APNA) talk about rise in costs of equipment, disposables, medicines, administration and maintenance cost to justify their demand for the hike in rates, government sources point out that the Arogyasri scheme had enhanced these hospitals’ operational efficiency by providing volumes.

The unit cost worked out for treatment to various diseases, medical equipment, and medicines has also not been disputed by private hospitals representatives. “The government has done elaborate work and prepared documents. Every unit has been monetised in a scientific manner,” they said.

APNA representatives point out that when the Arogyasri scheme was introduced, they were given to understand that only poor white cardholders comprising about 28 per cent of patients would qualify for it.

But with 82 per cent of people availing Arogyasri with nominal rates, they were not in a position to cross-subsidise and the scheme was becoming unviable.

“We are not looking for profit from the Arogyasri scheme but it should become sustainable,” they added. The State government employees and pensioners on the other hand, who were awaiting health cards, were not happy with outpatient treatment restricted to only 475 networked hospitals under the Arogyasri as they were paying 40 per cent of the premium of Rs.90 to Rs.120 a month.

Given the poor infrastructure in public sector hospitals, they wanted access to any corporate hospital.

But keen to bring in the referral system, the government insisted that patients first visit outpatient wards in the public sector and networked hospitals for a fair diagnosis and to prevent unnecessary investigations, a common practice in private hospitals.

Another demand from the employees’ unions is doing away with the upper limit for medical treatment.

Govt employees and pensioners were not happy with outpatient treatment restricted to only 475 networked hospitals under the Arogyasri as they were paying 40 per cent of the premium of Rs. 90 to Rs. 120 a month