Will cancel license of private hospitals if they don’t accept govt health card, warns Bengal CM
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee warned that her government could cancel the licenses of private hospitals and nursing homes if they refuse to treat patients under the goverment’s Swasthya Sathi health scheme.
“If anyone refuses to give the healthcare, the government has the power to cancel their license. This health scheme is for the poor people. No one should harass the poor people,” Banerjee said while asking people to lodge a police complaint in the face of any harassment.
Launched in 2016 by Banerjee, the Swasthya Sathi is a cashless scheme that covers secondary and tertiary healthcare up to Rs5 lakh per annum per family. With an eye on the 2021 assembly polls, the chief minister had, in November 2020, extended the cashless health benefit to every citizen in the state.
“There are many big hospitals which sometimes refuse to accept the government’s Swasthya Sathi health card. We want to hold meetings with them and tell them that they would have to do it,” she said.
In a meeting among the representatives of private hospitals and officials of the state health department in December 2020, the former had raised concerns over the rates for treatment of patients under the health scheme. The cost of open-heart surgery under Swasthya Sathi scheme was capped at Rs80,000 compared to several lakh rupees in the private hospital.
“We are also roping in the smaller nursing homes in the districts under this health scheme so that citizens can avail healthcare facilities close to their residence. We would also speak to them and the state’s chief secretary will meet them so that no person is harassed,” Banerjee said.
Some private hospitals have already started earmarking a section of their beds to treat patients under the Swasthya Sathi scheme