It has been six months since the Centre gave "in principle" nod to the Mahajan Imaging Centre and Bhasin Diagnostic Lab at Safdarjung Hospital's Sports Injury Centre to be empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). But a formal order has still to be issued.
As a result, CGHS beneficiaries continue to be denied cashless transactions or get their bills reimbursed. Almost 50% people who visit the sports injury centre are CGHS beneficiaries.
Both the centres offer tests at CGHS rates, which is roughly half of what is charged commercially. They were set up in January 2011 as a public-private initiative to ensure improved delivery of basic screening and tests to patients at the government hospital.
"It is pretty erratic; even if the bills get reimbursed as Safdarjung is a government-run hospital, other facilities that
we are entitled to such as the credit system, especially if the beneficiary is a pensioner, are not reimbursed," said Alok Mehta, who is suffering from osteoporosis and may need a hip joint replacement.
In a meeting held on November 30 last year, an "in principle" decision was taken to include imaging and diagnostic facilities run under public-private partnerships — such as CT scan, X-ray, MRI and blood tests — in the CGHS panel at the hospital.
"We took up the matter in one of the recent empowered committee meetings under the health secretary but have not heard anything from them yet. We also do not want our
patients to suffer but we are helpless," said Dr Deepak Chaudhary, director, Sports Injury Centre.
"Since patients are not reimbursed here, they go to CGHS-accredited centres outside the hospital. The government is losing lakhs of rupees — 26% of the total money charged at these two centres over 17 months, as the money goes to the Centre," said a doctor, on condition of anonymity.
Calling the delay a minor hiccup, health ministry officials said they are almost ready with the formal order that might be issued any time now.
"We have allowed two private service providers to operate on subsidized rates. Earlier the utilisation seemed less, but now we are soon coming out with the official order for CGHS empanelment.
The convenience of our patients is our primary concern," said PK Pradhan, Union health secretary.