ECHS runs out of funds and bogged by bureaucratic hurdles
Published: Tuesday, Mar 6, 2012, 12:10 IST
By Soumabha Nandi | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
Retd Colonel Shashi Anand’s wife’s treatment was halted at the Jehangir Hospital last week. According to Anand, the hospital official denied his wife further treatment as they had not been paid the bill of the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS). “Under the ECHS scheme, an ex-serviceman and his family members are entitled to cashless treatment in the hospitals.
However, my wife’s treatment was halted by the hospital authorities as they claimed that they have not received the payment from the army yet, and hence will not carry out further cashless treatments,” said Anand, who has now shifted his wife to Command Hospital.
Like Anand, most of the ex-servicemen are facing difficulties in getting treatment in private hospitals. The ECHS beneficiaries are denied treatment in these hospitals as bills under the scheme have not been paid by the army. According to sources, the outstanding to be paid to hospitals surpasses Rs3 crore.
However, the hospital officials maintained that they have not stopped treating ECHS beneficiaries, provided they pay the amount from their pockets.
Jehangir Hospital confirmed that even as they have stopped giving cashless treatment to ECHS beneficiaries, the treatment will not be disrupted if the patients agree to pay the bills which have been set in concession rates.
“In spite of serious issues related to payments we have not stopped treatment. We are settling directly at the concessional ECHS tariffs rates with those patients desirous of seeking treatment at Jehangir Hospital, until the issue is resolved,” Jehangir Hospital spokesperson told DNA.
The ECHS officials maintained that the payment of bills is a lengthy process and the hospitals should be patient enough regarding the issue as it is a matter of ex-servicemen.
“The payment of bills goes through a lengthy hierarchical order, where the payment beyond 5 lakh extends up to the ministry of defence.
“The paperwork sometimes take some time, hence the hospitals should cooperate with us as the bills will eventually be paid to them,” zilla sainik welfare officer (Pune) Major (retd) Milind Tungar told DNA. ECHS (Pune) staff officer, Col Abhay Raj Sharma told DNA that the non-payment of bills is a temporary phase and meetings have been held with the hospitals to solve the issue. “The hospitals should bear with us and wait for the financial year to end. The solution to the problem is a lengthy process and hence they need to be patient. The bills will be paid to them in the recent future,” he told DNA.
Courtesy- DNA Report
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