Karnataka: Private hospitals mar golden hour scheme

Karnataka: Private hospitals mar golden hour scheme

Private hospitals claim exorbitant bills for even minor injuries

In a gross insult to Harish Nanjappa who expressed his desire to donate his organs after being run over by a lorry, private hospitals have been exploiting the ‘golden hour health scheme’ by claiming exorbitant bills for even minor injuries.

Following the gruesome death of 23-year-old Nanjappa in February 2016, the state government introduced the Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Yojana (MSHY). According to the scheme, accident victims have to be given free treatment in the first 48 hours at all hospitals.

Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST), which handles the scheme, has given out Rs 39.57 crore to beneficiaries so far. However, it has rejected 3,972 applications after it found that the claims were not genuine and the documents were filled with discrepancies.

Records available with SAST show that the trust has not yet settled around 23,904 applications by hospitals.

SAST executive director N T Abroo said the scheme has been grossly misused by hospitals ever since its launch in March 2016. “The scheme’s intention is to help accident victims, irrespective of their caste, community, nationality. But we were receiving random applications from hospitals claiming to have treated accident victims. We later learnt that these hospitals were claiming huge amounts for treating even small scratches,” added Abroo. 

She said applications which did not have proper documents, especially photographs of victims taken before and after the accident, either did not match or were missing.

“At a time when everyone has a smartphone with a camera, it is easy to take pictures and attach them with documents. But many hospitals failed to produce documents and in the process, had misused the scheme,” she said. 

The executive director said duplication of claims and misuse has been largely eradicated after 154 emergency treatments were brought under the Aarogya Karnataka Universal Health Insurance Scheme.

Harish’s accident drew a lot of attention as many bystanders refused to help when he was calling out to them only to tell them to donate his organs. With free treatment during the golden hour, the scheme also encourages people to take the initiative to save an accident victim.