CUTTACK: The Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) here will now be able to extend financial assistance to poor cancer patients under the Orissa State Treatment Fund (OSTF).
The only State-run Cancer hospital of the State has finally been included in the scheme by the Government. The OSTF was launched in November last year with the objective of alleviating the financial burden inflicted upon the poorer sections of society by way of illnesses like cancer, cardiac and other serious diseases. However, though the three medical college and hospitals, district headquarters hospitals were included, the AHRCC was curiously kept out of the loop.
The decision to bring AHRCC into the fold was taken at the first Governing Body meeting of the Orissa State Treatment Fund Society recently. The body chaired by Chief Secretary BK Patnaik pointed out that the cancer centre was kept out of OSTFS to avoid duplication as it was availing of similar funds under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) under the Union Health Minister’s Discretionary Fund (HMDF).
But AHRCC was earlier availing of benefits from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) along with RAN. The Governing body also noted that the maximum assistance limit under RAN has been brought down from ` 3 lakh to ` 1.5 lakh.
Considering all factors, including patient load, the society has not only gone ahead with including AHRCC but also following the upper limit of ` 3 lakh as has been fixed in the guidelines of OSTF.
The society has also decided to utilise OSTF as a top-up for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana beneficiaries. People covered under RSBY will only be eligible for OSTF after exhausting the insurance money. It was also decided to do away with paying of advance due to the problem of non- production of vouchers. Payments will be made to patients during stay at the hospital only on production of vouchers of prescribed expenses.
About ` 7.50 crore has been transferred to all districts with separate accounts opened for OSTF at the MCH, CMO and CDMO levels. The superintendents of the three MCHs have been given ` 1 crore each. The superintendent of Sishu Bhawan, Cuttack, and CMO of Capital Hospital provided with ` 50 lakh and the CDMOs ` 10 lakh each.