Fund crunch hits Ayushman Bharat: Patients suffer as Mohali govt hospitals discontinue elective surgeries
With state failing to clear ₹1.5 cr worth of funds for three civil hospitals in Mohali, authorities are unable to afford resources needed for elective surgeries
Patients looking to avail the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana have been hit hard by the government hospitals’ shutdown of elective surgeries under the programme last month—caused by state government’s failure to clear ₹1.5 crore worth of funds.
Of the ₹1.5 crore awaiting government clearance, ₹55 lakh was meant for the civil hospital in Phase 6 and ₹50 lakh each for those in Dera Bassi and Kharar.
There are around 1.27 lakh beneficiaries in the district who are entitled to free treatment under the scheme. Elective surgeries that can be availed include knee and replacements, removal of kidney stones or an appendix and hernia surgery.
Sharing his plight, Prem Chand of Sohana village said, “I have been visiting the civil hospital in Phase 6 for the past three weeks for my knee replacement under the scheme, but they have stopped doing the surgeries. I cannot afford a private hospital and I don’t know where to turn for help.”
Notbaly, a knee replacement usually costs up to ₹80,000, an amount which is borne by the hospital under the scheme.
Until March, around 60 elective surgeries were conducted every day at seven government facilities in the district. The list included the three aforementioned hospitals and community health centres in Kurali, Dhakoli, Banur and Antala.
Speaking about the same, civil surgeon Dr Adarsh Pal Kaur said the elective surgeries have been stopped in district hospitals and hospitals of sub-division level under the scheme as the requisite funds have been pending for the last three months, rendering them incapable of buying prostheses.
Kaur added that only minor and emergency services under the scheme are being provided.
Ayushman Bharat Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana was launched in August 2019 as an extension of the Centre’s scheme, which covers nearly 14.65 lakh families as per the socio-economic caste census data. The premium cost here is borne by the Centre and state at a 60:40 ratio.
Earlier this year, the state health agency informed the empanelled hospitals that SBI-GIC, the insurance company that was given the contract would not be offering its services after February 25. The state has since failed to settle the claims of various hospitals.
A senior health department official, who did not wish to be named, said private empanelled hospitals have also begun refusing patients under the scheme because of dues owed by the state government. He added that the department was hopeful of reaching a solution for the same in the coming days.