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Central Dues Breach Rs 2,000 Crore In 2 Years, Private Hospitals In Crisis

BENGALURU: Seeking cashless treatment in private institutions could become tough in the coming days as major private hospitals in the state said their survival is at stake with the Centre owing them Rs 150 crore.

On Monday, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI) and Private Hospitals’ and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA) briefed media about their grievances. “With the Centre’s dues to private hospitals in the country touching Rs 2,000 crore over the past two years, it’s a question of survival for private hospitals,” AHPI president Dr Alexander Thomas said.

“Karnataka’s major private hospitals are yet to receive over Rs 150 crore under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). Unless the government reimburses the amount, private hospitals cannot continue to support cashless treatment,” said PHANA president Dr R Ravindra. According to AHPI, four Apollo Hospitals in Karnataka are yet to receive Rs 60 crore under CGHS. Narayana Health has to get Rs 15 crore, and HCG and MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital Rs 2 crore each.

In Karnataka, 230 private hospitals were empanelled under CGHS and over 120 have not renewed their membership. While the hospitals don’t deny treatment to CGHS patients, there are chances patients will have to pay upfront and claim reimbursement from the government later.

IMA secretary general Dr RV Ashokan said the cashless scheme is convenient for patients, and not for hospitals. “If a hospital can’t run cashless, then the patient is affected. CGHS dues are more than the health budget of many states,” he said.

Central government employees and their families are worried. “We’ve paid premium for 43 years to avail the CGHS cashless scheme. Why should we pay cash now? Our association will take up the issue,” said G Rajendran, secretary, All India Central Government Pensioners’ Association.

Narayana Health chairman Dr Devi Shetty suggested the government adopt Ayushman Bharat model — government gives 1% of the amount pending for reimbursement for every month of delay. “The model could be sustainable for private hospitals,” he said.

Also, there’s trouble brewing for patients who seek cashless treatment under private insurance packages with hospitals resenting the 30% discount on bills reportedly demanded by the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA), which is citing losses.-Times Of India

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