Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI) on Thursday threatened to withdraw cashless facility for CGHS beneficiaries from January 15,unless pending bills are cleared and the government rationalises CGHS rates. The Association claimed that the total dues of hospitals across the country for treating CGHS patients is in the range of Rs 300-500 crore and unpaid Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) bills had forced many smaller hospitals to shut shop.
In a statement,APHI said hospitals in Delhi,Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka would be the first to withdraw the services followed by others if the issue is not resolved. Dr Devi Shetty,chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya said: We do not want to withdraw services,that is why we have appealed to the government to clear pending bills and review the rates. CGHS is the mother of all schemes. We believe that if terms and conditions for CGHS are improved the entire system will improve and all hospitals will be more encouraging of different schemes. This was not such a big issue earlier when about 5% of our patients were covered by these schemes but now 50-60% are patients under one scheme or the other so it has become a vital issue.
Hospital bosses who gathered under the AHPI umbrella said there is a need for greater transparency in pricing mechanism of private hospitals to change the atmosphere of increasing distrust. They also admitted that there are cases where hospitals charge more for drugs and consumables than the price for which they are available in sections of the market (though not higher than MRP) but defended the practice saying higher establishment costs have to be recovered. The association,which claims to represent around 10,000 private and charitable hospitals across the country,pointed out various anomalies in CGHS rates,in some cases the same procedure being priced differently depending on the specialist.