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In Yeshasvini scheme, not all is free

Last updated: 04 October, 2010
Bangalore, Oct 4, DHNS 22:01 IST

The State government swears by its health schemes, holding it to be a boon for poor patients who cannot afford to avail tertiary medical treatment in a super specialty hospital. But any impression that the treatment is free is illusory.

Take the example of Yeshasvini Health scheme started by the co-operative Farmers’ Healthcare Trust. Surgery procedures are free of cost, but if it is a matter of implants such as stents, valves, pacemakers or coils or devices involved in a heart surgery, the patient has to bear the cost.

Although hospitals like Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology and Narayana Hrudayalaya help patients by subsidising the cost of the implants, many patients still struggle to meet even the subsidised cost.

A case in point is that of Uma, a native of Mysore. She underwent MVR (mitral valve replacement) procedure at Jayadeva Hospital, Bangalore. Although the Yeshasvini cardholder can avail the benefits of surgical procedures, she requires valve implants.

“My husband has borrowed Rs 25,000 to bear the cost of the valve for me. We are poor farmers and my husband is an illiterate,” says Uma.

The actual cost of the valve was a little over Rs 40,000 which the hospital reduced to Rs 25,000, considering Uma’s financial status.

Hospitals involved in the scheme make sure that none of their patients are sent back without treatment, by finding philanthropic sponsors. Though the expenditure involved in each surgery procedure has increased over the years, Yeshasvini scheme still costs the same as it did at its launch in 2003.

The Yeshasvini Co-operative Farmers’ Health Scheme was launched with members, regardless of their financial status enrolling by paying a mere Rs 150 per head as premium. Some of the members are rich farmers and others do not even own a piece of land.

“The scheme has been beneficial to many, although problems arise when the entitled fail to pay premiums and wish to avail the benefits. There are many patients who have availed treatment in non-empanelled hospitals and failing to get the subsidy benefit, have filed cases against the Yeshasvini Trust. There is still scope for improving the scheme," says Poovappa, CEO of the Yeshasvini co-operative Farmers Healthcare Trust.

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