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Payments under Ayushman Bharat pending, pvt hospitals on the edge

Uncleared dues of private hospitals in crores of rupees may jeopardise the free treatment of poor patients under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, an ambitious scheme of the Union Government, under which free treatment is provided to poor people.

Rs 125-cr dues

Private doctors across the state, under the banner of IMA, Haryana, had earlier suspended the services for nearly a week. We had resumed treatment after getting assurance from government officials, but still nearly Rs 125 crore is pending. — Dr Ajay Mahajan, President, Indian Medical Association, Haryana

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The managements of private hospitals have hinted that treatment under the scheme may be suspended again if their dues are not cleared at the earliest. They had earlier suspended the treatment under this for nearly a week, prior to the recent Lok Sabha elections, and had resumed services only after receiving assurance from the government that the outstanding payments would be released soon.

The doctors alleged that despite of assurance, the payments had been delayed and they were facing severe financial issues. They alleged that hundreds of private hospitals across the state were waiting for the disbursement of payments for the treatments done under this scheme.

“Private doctors across the state, under the banner of IMA, Haryana, had suspended the services for nearly a week due to the non-payment for previous cases under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. We had resumed treatment after getting assurance from government officials, but still nearly Rs 125 crore is pending,” said Dr Ajay Mahajan, president, Indian Medical Association (IMA) Haryana.

“We had a meeting with the senior officials looking after the ambitious scheme of the Union Government on May 29, in which we were assured the release of our payments soon. We have requested the authorities to release them at the earliest, otherwise we will not be able to continue the service,” he added.

He said they had also raised the issue of revision of rates for treatment, clarity regarding rejection/deduction of payments and for early settlement of the pending cases.

A senior doctor of Karnal said if payments were not cleared at the earliest, they would have no option but to suspend treatments under it. Sources said a couple of hospitals had reduced services under the scheme.

Dr Rohit Sadana, president, IMA, Karnal, said nearly 100 hospitals treating patients under the Ayushman Bharat scheme in Karnal were facing financial issues due to the delay in payments.

“After the assurance, some funds were disbursed, but the process is very slow and now there is a pendency of nearly three months in several hospitals,” he said.

“Private hospitals are struggling to run hospitals under these conditions. Immediate and consistent fund disbursement is essential for us to continue providing treatment under Ayushman Bharat,” he said.

Ankita Adhikari, Joint CEO of Ayushman Bharat, refuted the claims of the IMA and said that some payments were delayed due to technical problems in the software. “Prior to February, we used to collect claims through TMS 1.2 software, and now it is being collected through TMS 2.2. There were some issues which have been resolved. We have cleared most of the payments till mid-May and efforts are being made to clear the rest of the dues,” she said. She said that payments under the Chirayu scheme had been disbursed till March.

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