BPL insurance scheme not on in 80 pc hospitals

Inadequate training in the use of card-reading equipment has marred the implementation of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a cashless health insurance scheme for families below poverty line in the unorganised sector, in 80 percent of empanelled hospitals in the State.

A recent Statewide survey conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC) showed that eight out of 10 participating hospitals reported having treated less than 10 patients under the scheme and one out of four hospitals had not treated a single patient since the scheme was launched seven months ago.

Cost not mentioned

Lack of training to use card-reading machines, delay and reduction in the payments due from insurance companies to hospitals and imposition of upper limits on treatment duration and cost not mentioned in the contract, were some of the reasons for the near failure of the scheme highlighted by the survey.

Renewal of membership

"Enough attention has not been paid to proper installation of the equipment and training of hospital staff in the use of the technology. The annual renewal of membership of the empanelled hospitals is coming up. But I fear that, unless immediate corrective action is taken and hospitals start treating patients, many beneficiaries will find renewing the card not worth the Rs 30 cost," said Professor D Rajasekhar, head of the Centre for Decentralisation and Development, ISEC.

The RSBY scheme was launched in five districts of the State-- Bangalore Rural, Belgaum, Dakshina Kannada, Mysore and Shimoga - in March this year, as an initiative of the Labour Ministry.

The hospitals were empanelled two months after the launch of the scheme and not many people could benefit from it.

This highlighted that beneficiaries were not aware of the empanelled hospitals where they could avail treatment under the scheme.

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