In a move that will end inconvenience to lakhs of patients of diabetes, hypertension and other cardiac diseases, dialysis and cancer, the department of ex-servicemen welfare (DESW) has decided that referral letters issued to beneficiaries of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) for treatment at empanelled hospitals will have a validity of six months.
Now, they don’t have to seek the referral letters every time.The letter was issued to all three chiefs of services for circulation at the command level on July 5.
The ECHS caters to medical care of all ex-servicemen and their dependants, including wife, children and wholly dependent parents.The DESW comes under the ministry of defence.
The patients of diabetes, hypertension and other cardiac diseases, dialysis and cancer require repeated treatment procedures over a period of time. As per the existing guidelines, they are required to procure referral letters every time to get the prescribed treatment done at ECHS empanelled hospitals and diagnostic centres.
Now, with the new policy, such patients do not have to take the requisite permission every time as the referral letters issued by ECHS polyclinics will have a validity of six months. It will be from the date of issue of original prescription for undergoing the prescribed treatment procedures to be conducted over six months as advised by an ECHS or government specialist.
“It has been a long-pending demand of patients. Every time they had to go for referral letters. It is a welcome decision,” said Lt Col SS Sohi, president of ex-servicemen grievance cell, SAS Nagar.