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Friday, Sep 30, 2022

West Bengal govt warns private hospitals over refusal of cashless treatment

The ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme currently covers more than 2.3 crore families across the state.

west bengal private hospitalsThe Commission has issued a warning to private hospitals while assuring holders of the health cards of “zero tolerance” in such cases.

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has received 10 complaints in 45 days against private hospitals for refusing cashless treatment under ‘Swasthya Sathi’ health cards.

A package-based health scheme of the Trinamool Congress government, ‘Swasthya Sathi’ guarantees cashless secondary and tertiary care treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh at empanelled hospitals every year.

The Commission has issued a warning to private hospitals while assuring holders of the health cards of “zero tolerance” in such cases.

According to sources, the Commission on Tuesday held a meeting with officials of the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ wing at Swastha Bhawan, the headquarters of the state health department. The deliberations centred on the successful implementation of the scheme.

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“Our objective is to ensure that patients derive the desired benefits of ‘Swasthya Sathi’ cards at private hospitals. We received complaints that three to four private hospitals are not accepting the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ cards.
However, one of these hospitals has clarified that it has some infrastructure issues in this regard which will be resolved soon. Over the last month-and-a-half, we have received 10 such complaints. We have zero tolerance in this regard and are working to resolve these issues,” WBCERC Chairperson, Justice (retd.) Ashim Kumar Banerjee said.

Seven hospitals have already been show-caused by the Commission for refusing to accept ‘Swasthya Sathi’ cards. The panel has also decided to take up all cases of card refusals for hearing on November 3.

“We will hold a hearing of only ‘Swasthya Sathi’ card refusal cases on November 3,” Banerjee said.

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While chairing a recent administrative meeting at ‘Uttar Kanya’, the state’s mini-secretariat for North Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had private hospitals, saying refusing cashless treatment or other benefits under ‘Swasthya Sathi’ cards could result in cancellation of their licences.

Several private hospitals are alleged to have turned away patients carrying ‘Swasthya Sathi’ cards. Taking note of such complaints, the state department of Health and Family Welfare issued an advisory on the scheme on October 25. “The advisory was issued for the interest of providing maximum benefits to the beneficiaries and proper utilisation of the scheme,” a senior health official said.

While the government has claimed zero tolerance on refusal on cashless treatment under the health protection scheme, a private hospital at Uluberia in Howrah district has moved the Calcutta High Court against the state government over non-payment of dues allegedly running into crores.

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The ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme currently covers more than 2.3 crore families across the state. For cashless treatment at state-run hospitals under the scheme, the government has upgraded infrastructure by adding more beds and introducing Critical care Units, Special Newborn Care Units, Sick Newborn Stabilisation Units, Mother and Child Hubs and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Services, among others.

First published on: 30-10-2021 at 05:50:45 am
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