The Karnataka State Hospitals’ Forum (KPHF), comprising 400 network hospitals, has expressed “concern” over an impending healthcare crisis due to alleged “rampant issue” of BPL health cards. This in turn is affecting the services offered by these hospitals under Vajpayee Arogyasri and Yeshasvini schemes, the forum has claimed.
The hospitals have expressed their inability to continue treating beneficiaries of these health schemes as the model is unsustainable in this given situation where the tariffs set for the hospitals are low. With over 80-85 per cent of the patients visiting hospitals in a tier-II city are BPL card holders, the going is getting difficult for hospitals, the forum said in a statement.
KPHF comprising the Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI), Indian Medical Association (IMA), Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Association (PHANA) and Karnataka Private Medical Establishment Association (KPMEA), recently had a meeting of over 400 network hospitals to resolve the current issues.
Dr Prashant B Katakol, coordinator of Karnataka Private Hospitals Forum, said, “Even with consistent appeals to the government, there have been no revisions for the charges. The hospitals have been assured by Yeshasvini and Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trusts about the tariff revision, but no actions have been taken,” he said.
“The hospitals are offered only 1/3rd of the actual cost of the surgery including the infrastructure charges. Earlier, the representatives of these hospitals were willing to treat the scheme patients even at a loss, since it comprised of a manageable component of the patient volume. By cross-subsidising the schemes with paying patients, we managed to stay viable and sustainable, and continued offering quality healthcare to the poor. But, today with the scaling of volume of cards being issued, without a revision of the tariff and amending certain clauses of consideration, this model is unviable for parties involved in this PPP model,” he argued.
When these schemes were introduced 11 years ago, the hospitals took this up as an opportunity to serve the poor and working class people of Karnataka, offering them high quality healthcare, free of cost to them, yet sustainable through the schemes, the hospitals contended. Over a period of time, the issue with BPL cards entitling to subsidized healthcare services has spiraled out of control. Reportedly, many BPL cards have been issued to undeserving population in the state, they alleged.
The Yeshasvini scheme was initiated for the poor farmers which are availed of by rich farmers of the cooperative society. Due to the exponential increase in the number of healthcare/ BPL card holders, hospitals are forced to treat the patient within the limited claim amount which mostly leads to loss for the hospital as well as the government.
With the need for life-saving operations going-up among the underprivileged patients, the current issues pertaining to health schemes are sure to pose a challenge in the entire healthcare system, the forum said.