BENGALURU: Karnataka’s 6.2 crore people may have to wait longer to get universal health coverage. Reason: A week ahead of Kannada Rajyotsava (the government wanted to roll out Arogya Bhagya on Nov 1), it is yet to issue a government order (GO) and is working out the financial modalities of the flagship scheme.
There are around 2,000 private and government hospitals empanelled with Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST- the implementing agency) to provide secondary healthcare services.
Around 203 government and private hospitals have been empanelled to provide tertiary healthcare services. Renewed MoUs have to be signed with the hospitals to roll out the scheme. This exercise can’t begin without the GO and for the entire system to fall in place, at least one month will be required, said several health department staff, including National Health Mission Director Dr Ratan Kelkar.
When asked if the department is going to roll out the scheme on November 1, Ajai Seth, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare, said, “I can’t comment on that as the GO is being finalised.”
Though the previous health secretary had said renewed MoUs were not required, certain aspects of the scheme are not covered in their current MoUs with SAST like medical and surgical emergencies. Under Arogya Bhagya, hospitals are required to treat emergencies even if they are not accident cases. The cap is `25,000 for 48 hours.
On being asked what are the changes for a patient walking in on October 31 and November 1, Dr Madan Gaekwad, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said, “We haven’t been called for a meeting with government. So, till that happens, we will continue to treat them as per the existing MoU’s terms of reference.”