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HIMCARE dues reach Rs 70 crore; Kangra private hospitals left in lurch

The owners of over two dozen private hospitals in Kangra district have been running from pillar to post for the past six months to get Rs 70 crore dues from the state government for providing cashless medical treatment under the Himcare scheme.

Himcare Scheme launched by previous govt

  • The Himcare scheme was introduced with much fanfare by the previous BJP government before the Assembly elections in 2020.
  • The scheme is funded by the state government and under it, a person can avail medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh in a year in private or government hospitals in the state and PGI Chandigarh.
  • Later, the government reimburses the amount to the private hospitals empanelled under the scheme for providing cashless services to the patients.
  • According to information, a single hospital in Kangra is awaiting a payment of Rs 13 crore.

Despite repeated reminders, the government is yet to release the funds. Under the Himcare scheme, it has overall liabilities of Rs 350 crore towards the private hospitals in the state.

Private hospitals are finding it difficult to implement Himcare and Ayushman Bharat schemes due to delay in payments. A number of these hospitals have already given notices to the state government to clear their dues. — Dr Naresh Vermani, President, Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that at present, the state government is yet to pay Rs 70 crore to private hospitals and Rogi Kalyan Samitis (RKS) under the Himcare scheme in Kangra district. Similarly, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the state government has not released its 10 per cent share, following which the Centre has also not allocated funds as per its remaining share of 90 per cent.

The Himcare scheme was introduced with much fanfare by the previous BJP government before the Assembly elections in 2020. It is funded by the state government and under it, a person can avail medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh in a year in private or government hospitals in the state and PGI Chandigarh. Later, the government reimburses the amount to the private hospitals empanelled under the scheme for providing cashless services to the patients.

According to information, a single hospital in Kangra is awaiting a payment of Rs 13 crore. Dr Naresh Vermani, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association, said, “Private hospitals are finding it difficult to implement these two government schemes due to delay in payments. A number of these hospitals have already given notices to the state government to clear their dues. The private hospitals have told the government that they would discontinue the services under the Himcare scheme if they did not get their payments.”

“The non-reimbursement of bills has made it difficult for private hospitals to provide treatment under these two schemes. We are unable to pay the salaries of staff and bear the cost of medicines. If the bills are not cleared, we will be forced to stop providing health services under these two schemes,” said Dr Vimal Dubey, Director, Vivekananda Medical Hospital and Research Centre, Palampur. The hospital is awaiting Rs 13 crore from the state government.

Devender Kumar, who oversees the implementation and release of the funds under these two flagship schemes in Himachal, said efforts are being made to arrange the funds to clear the payments of private hospitals. He said the Chief Minister is well aware of the facts and committed to clearing the liabilities at the earliest. He said at present, over Rs 350 crore is yet to be paid to the private hospitals in the state. Tribune India

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