Health scheme: patients must go to govt hospitals first

Soon, you cannot directly go to a private hospital for treatment under a government health scheme. You will need to visit a government hospital first. Only when doctors refer you to private hospitals owing to lack of facilities in government hospitals can you go to private facilities.

This is one of the several changes being planned by the state government in its various health schemes, Health and Family Welfare Minister K R Ramesh Kumar told DH after a meeting with representatives of private hospitals on Monday.

“Patients wishing to get subsidised treatment under government schemes must go to state-run hospitals first. If doctors there are unable to attend to the case or if a procedure cannot be performed for lack of facilities, they can get treatment at private empanelled hospitals. But they will need a reference from government doctors except in case of an emergency,” Kumar said.

Kumar insisted that the government was proactive in improving public hospitals. “All taluk hospitals are going to have ICUs as well as diagnostic facilities, except CT and MRI scans which will be available at district hospitals in public private partnership,” he said.

The minister assured people who use government health schemes for treatment at private hospitals under “unavoidable circumstances”. “We will stand by them. But in other cases, patients will have to foot their own medical bill,” he said.

Kumar promised to fill all the vacancies in government hospitals in a month. “We will start postgraduate diploma courses in government medical colleges. Seats will be reserved for doctors serving in government hospitals. This way, we hope to address the shortage of specialists in state-run hospitals,” he said.

The government is also introducing smart cards for beneficiaries of its health schemes. The cards will have details of the patient and members of his/her family, and the health scheme they are eligible for. The patient’s medical history will also be available, Kumar said. The smart cards will be linked to the patient’s Aadhaar card to make it foolproof. “If a resident of Shivamogga goes to Vijayapura and needs emergency care, he can just use the card and get treatment at a private or government hospital,” he added. But once the smart cards are rolled out, patients will not be reimbursed from the chief minister’s relief fund.

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