Reimburse funds under central scheme: Health care providers

New Delhi, Dec 19: An association of health care providers Thursday asked the government to reimburse it for services offered under the central government health scheme (CGHS) and threatened to withdraw the cashless facility to beneficiaries in case of non-payment.

The CGHS is a framework for several health care schemes in India, under which hospitals offer services to patients at a fee lesser than normal rates or even in credit.

“CGHS is the mother of all health schemes. From universal health coverage to protection of weaker sections of the society, it is important that remuneration and timely payment for CGHS schemes are standardised.

This will help charitable and private hospitals to extend their services to all government-sponsored health schemes,” said Devi Shetty, treasurer of the Association of Healthcare Providers India (AHPI).

The association threatened to withdraw the cashless facility from Jan 15.

AHPI members, who are beneficiaries of private and charitable hospitals, were also of the view that under the CGHS, the rates are extremely low in the context of increasing health care expenses that hospitals have to incur.

As per AHPI data, in 2013, the overall wages increased by 13 percent, prices of medicines went up by 10 to 12 percent and in the last three years, rupee depreciation resulted in an increase of 20 to 60 percent in prices of imported medical and surgical consumables. The working capital cost has gone up from 11.5 percent in 2009 to 13.5 percent in 2013.

“Hospitals import expensive diagnostic and medical equipment, paying high import duties. In some cases, it takes seven to 10 years to recover the cost of equipment and consumables,” said AHPI director Girdhar J. Gyani.

“With steep increase in foreign exchange rates in the last few years and funds crunch due to non-payment from CGHS, hospitals are getting into huge debts, incurring heavy interests from banks while funding government schemes,” he said.