Though the government has been conducting Arogya Karnataka registration in 11 government hospitals in the state and 1.05 lakh cards have been distributed, people can avail benefits under the scheme not before June. The assembly election is one reason for the delay, say officials.
“There’s confusion about certain conditions in the MoU to be signed with private hospitals. It has been redrafted many times and no final decision has been taken. There’s also discussion about whether to include government hospitals in the MoU process. While many feel there’s no need to sign MoU with government hospitals to implement the government’s scheme, some team members said it’s needed as it pertains to patient care and money is involved.” sources in the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST), the implementing agency, said.
So far, 183 private hospitals have been empanelled with the government for implementation of government health schemes like Vajpayee Arogyasri (VA), Rashtriya Swastya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Yashaswini. The government has subsumed VA and RSBY into Arogya Karnataka.
As per the government order, the state will bear costs up to Rs 1.5 lakh and an additional Rs 50,000 per family per annum, and the rest must be paid by the patient. However, the private sector raised financial concerns and questioned the rider that accompanies the scheme.
Though the scheme accommodates everyone irrespective of their financial status, the rider is that the patient must first avail treatment at agovernment hospital and can be referred to a private-empanelled hospital only if the treatment is unavailable at the government facility. The scheme covers BPL and APL patients who don’t have any other insurance and they must make a declaration to this effect while registering for the scheme.
Though officials say 99 private hospitals expressed interest in the Arogya Karnataka project, there’s been no official signing of MoU between private hospitals and the government. “Not a single meeting has been called by the government for project implementation. There are doubts about pricing of treatment under the new scheme. The government has not communicated anything to the private hospitals’ association,” said Dr Madan S Gaekwad, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA).
When contacted, N T Abroo, executive director, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust, refused to answer any questions about the project.
It’s a pity that even as registrations for the Arogya Karnataka scheme have been going on at a steady pace, the benefits won’t be available to people for a little while yet, all because the modalities are still being worked out. The scheme, designed to help poor patients in dire need of healthcare at private hospitals, would have brought much hope to those who otherwise have to depend on government hospitals. It’s time all stakeholders accorded this project the highest priority and fast-tracked the process of empanellment. A good idea should not be ruined by poor execution.TIMESVIEW