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Govt health scheme not good enough for heart treatments

mumbai Updated: Aug 06, 2012 01:06 IST
Priyanka Vora
Priyanka Vora
Hindustan Times
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The one-month-old state health insurance scheme, which promises quality treatment to low-income families, may not provide the best treatment to patients with heart blockages.

According to city cardiologists, the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Yojana (RGJY) covers angioplasty procedures using non-medicated stents instead of the medicated stents preferred worldwide.

While the scheme that was launched on July 1 does not specify the type of stents, cardiologists said the sanctioned monetary package makes it unaffordable for hospitals to use medicated stents. The chances of a blockage recurring after angioplasty using medicated stents is as low as 5% to 7%, but 25%-30% when non-medicated stents are used.

Last week, city cardiologists met state health ministry officials to discuss the limitations of non-medicated stents.

Till date, the state-run JJ Hospital, Byculla, has not performed a single angioplasty procedure under the scheme.

“The government price for medicated stents is significantly higher than what is approved under the scheme. It would be unfair to do a ‘poor man’s job’ for a poor patient because the scheme does not allow the best available treatment,” said Dr NO Bansal, head of cardiology department, JJ Hospital.