The private hospitals in the state have decided to stop all central and state government schemes for patients such as Karunya, Snehasparsham, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (a health insurance scheme) , ESI and ECHS from April 1. They will be serving one-month notice to the concerned agencies in this regard on January 31.
Seen as a pressure tactic to draw state government's attention to their demands, this decision may hit many poor persons as almost 70 percent of the patients take treatment in private hospitals. There are around 200 empaneled private hospitals in the state that cater to patients under these government schemes. About 10 percent to 20 percent patients who go to these empaneled hospitals are covered under these schemes.
The decision announced by the Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA) on Tuesday, also has support of Association of Healthcare Providers (India) AHPI. "We have to borrow money to treat patients under these schemes and often get the money after a year. Government scheme no one has done proper costing and many of the costing is 10 years old. The challenge for us now is that we have to bear the highest cost in terms of wages for the manpower. In these circumstances, continuing with government schemes is neither viable nor affordable," said Dr Harish Pillai, president, AHPI - Kerala Chapter
However, Catholic hospitals in the state have decided to stay away from any decision that affects patients.
"We don't want these 200 hospitals to close down due to escalating costs. When we accept the government schemes, the government should also be willing to hear us. In its present form these schemes are not viable as the package cost offered is very less and we are suffering 20 percent to 30 percent loss," said Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA) general secretary Hussain Koya Thangal.
KPHA's main grudge with the government is increased salary of nurses and other staff, high GST on hospital consumables and medicines and the government's firm decision to bring even the hospitals with less than 100 beds under the purview of Clinical Establishment Bill.
"Government needs to conduct a study and give us a viable solution to run these institutions before March 31, 2018,"added Farhaan Yasin, Calicut KPHA secretary.
However, the government is not impressed with this. "They met me yesterday evening but didn't mention a word about this. I don't understand what is their intention," said health secretary Rajeev Sadanandan. Though private hospitals claimed that almost Rs 100 core to Rs 110 crore worth of bills has been pending since last 7 to 8 months, state government officials refuted the charges and said that almost 70 percent private hospital claims have been settled by December 31. – TOI