Online medical bill processing facility launched

Defence Minister AK Antony on Saturday made an appeal to the State administration to be sympathetic to serving and retired military personnel seeking remedy to issues at home or second employment.

Speaking after launching online medical bill processing facility under the Regional Centre of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) here, Mr. Antony said State officials often turned their back on ex-servicemen and service personnel.

“Several States like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand and Punjab are giving more benefits to ex-servicemen after I wrote to all chief ministers. Kerala has also started doing it… States will have to play a greater role in bettering welfare of ex-servicemen,” he said.

Later, talking to reporters, he said most of the 18 ECHS polyclinics of Kerala, with over 4.75 lakh subscribers to the Centre-aided health scheme, operated from rented buildings. While land acquisition was a tricky issue in Kerala, it would be good if the government found permanent places for the polyclinics.

Further, district administration could play a key role in addressing domestic problems, especially land issues, faced by military personnel serving in far-flung areas, he said.

Online bill processing, he said, would encourage empanelled hospitals (authorised referral hospitals), often dejected at the delay in bill clearances, to be more accommodative of ECHS beneficiaries.

Kerala would soon add at least 12 hospitals to the already-existing list of 87 empanelled hospitals, one of the largest in the country.

Similarly, five more polyclinics would be added to the exiting 18 to cater to the healthcare requirements of ECHS beneficiaries, he said.

Mr. Antony also said that the Centre had taken special care to address complaints pertaining to inadequate pension of ex-servicemen, raising the pension amount by Rs. 4,500 in a span of four years.

“And that is not the end of it,” he assured.

Online bill processing, a web-based user friendly application implemented by UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited, was introduced at the ECHS Regional centre at Thiruvananthapuram last year.

Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, presided.