Universal health card on the anvil

People only need to link their Aadhaar number with card to avail benefits.

Published: 04th July 2017 08:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2017 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: A universal health card for all families in the state to access free treatment at government hospitals is on the cards, with the Cabinet likely to take up the issue for approval soon.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Health Minister K R Ramesh Kumar said that anyone who wanted to enjoy benefits under the card did not need a BPL or APL card and only needed to link their Aadhaar number with the card. Once approved, other schemes like Rajiv Arogya Bhagya, Yeshaswini and other schemes would be merged under the card.

Around 1.30 crore families in the state are expected to benefit from this scheme. “We are already spending `1,022 crore on a variety of health schemes. This money will be transferred to the new scheme. It is not likely to place a heavy burden on the government. It might cost us an additional `100 crore-`200 crore, but we are willing to take up the expenses. I will be discussing this with the Chief Minister shortly,” said Ramesh Kumar.

He also said that all district and taluk hospitals will get machines for CT scan, X-ray, MRI scan and other equipment. Services would be offered to patients free of cost. Dialysis units will also be set up in 146 taluks, he added. In addition, Vijayapura, Ramanagara, Kolar and Davanagere districts which do not have government medical colleges will get super-speciality hospitals. 

Endosulfan committee
Ramesh Kumar said the state is likely to set up a committee to deal with compensation, treatment costs and support for those affected by endosulfan, a  pesticide used on crops like cashew, which resulted in hazardous health effects.

The committee is likely to consist of ministers of agriculture, social welfare, health, horticulture and other departments and will be headed by the Chief Minister. 
Kerala awards `3 lakh to families of those who have died due to endosulfan exposure and those who are bedridden. Karnataka is likely to follow the same guidelines. According to Ramesh Kumar, there are around 6,500 people who have faced health issues due to endosulfan in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts and in regions bordering Kerala.

Nimma Quote Namma Post
Unable to address the shortfall of specialist doctors, the health department has now resorted to offering bids to partner doctors on a contract basis. There are 1,035 vacancies and the department is offering `1.3 lakh per month in high-priority districts and `1.1 lakh per month in other districts. The amount is negotiable. Advertisements under the heading, “Nimma Quote Namma Post” (your quote, our post) is the department’s latest attempt to attract doctors to its service and will engage doctors in its service depending on the amount quoted by doctors.

Health dept hikes salaries to attract doctors
Dismayed by the poor response to rural postings the Health Department has increased salaries to attract doctors. “We had fixed contract rates till now. So far 150 have applied. However, many remote areas are yet to find takers. It is presumed that due to remote areas the expectation of remuneration may be higher. For that we want doctors to say at what price they are ready to serve in our Community Health Centres, taluk and district hospitals. The National Health Mission is ready to give the top up remuneration over and above the state government rates in public interest. However, the said contract at specialists terms will have performance linkages. Hope to attract some,” said Principal Health Secretary Shalini Rajneesh. The department is offering `1.1 -`1.3 lakh to fill 1,035 specialists posts. 


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