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CGHS, ECHS: Hospitals to ‘stop cashless services’ if dues not paid in 30 days

Cashless services for the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) may also be suspended, he said, adding that the association will wait for “about a month” for dues to be cleared.

Written by Prabha Raghavan | New Delhi |
December 20, 2019 4:06:02 am
Central government health scheme, ECHS hospitals, ECHS hospitals dues, health ministry, indian hospitals, cashless services in indian hospitals, indian healthcare system, business news, indian express A CGHS facility. (Source: Express file Photo)

Several private hospitals empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) have decided to suspend cashless services to beneficiaries of the healthcare programme if the hospitals’ dues are not paid in a month’s time, said an association representing them.

“We have tried all avenues of getting the dues cleared from the government … However, we have not made any significant headway,” said Alex Thomas, president, Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI). “It is now a question of survival for healthcare providers. We will continue to engage with the government, but if the issue is not resolved over the next few weeks, hospitals will be forced to stop cashless services to the beneficiaries,” he told The Indian Express.

Cashless services for the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) may also be suspended, he said, adding that the association will wait for “about a month” for dues to be cleared.

The lobby group represents over 9,000 hospitals, including Max Healthcare, Fortis Healthcare, Narayana Health and Medanta–The Medicity, which currently provide cashless services to CGHS beneficiaries.

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Estimates from AHPI peg outstanding dues to empanelled CGHS and ECHS hospitals at over Rs 650 crore, but it is not clear how much of this has already been cleared by the government.

“This year so far, around Rs 1,400 crore has been released to service providers for cashless services. More payments are under process,” Alok Saxena, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, earlier told The Indian Express.

CGHS promises comprehensive medical care to approximately 35 lakh central government employees and pensioners. Pensioners, ex- and sitting Members of Parliament, freedom fighters and employees serving at CGHS, Directorate General of Health Services and the Health Ministry are entitled to cashless services at empanelled providers.

Pensioners and their dependents account for around 11 lakh of registered beneficiaries, government sources earlier said. It is not clear how many beneficiaries fall under the other categories eligible for cashless services.

ECHS, which provides allopathic medicare to ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents, is structured on the lines of CGHS to ensure cashless transactions. Over 18 lakh beneficiaries across the country used services under ECHS in 2018-19, shows government data.

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