Manmohan Samal sparks row over BSKY, hospitals stop taking patients

Proprietors of some private hospitals and nursing homes also expressed fears about not getting paid for the services rendered under the scheme.
Manmohan Samal
Manmohan Samal(Photo | EPS)

BHUBANESWAR: Day after the BJP won the Assembly elections, party’s state unit president Manmohan Samal sparked a controversy by saying that the state’s health assurance scheme Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) will soon be replaced by the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat Yojana.

Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, Samal said BSKY will be replaced by Ayushman Bharat scheme after the new government is formed. “Since BSKY has limited scope, the BJP government will implement Ayushman Bharat Yojana in the state as promised earlier. It has a larger scope as compared to BSKY and will benefit around 1.5 crore Odia people staying outside the state,” he said.

This immediately triggered confusion and panic among the beneficiaries across the state as taking cue from the BJP state chief’s statement, some private hospitals and nursing homes empanelled under BSKY stopped admitting patients covered by the scheme apprehending non-payment of bills.

“I had been to a corporate hospital in the city for surgery of my son. The hospital officials refused to admit him under BSKY citing that there is no clarity whether the scheme will continue or not. I have no other option or money to get the surgery done. What will I do now?” Manasi Das, a beneficiary, complained. 

Proprietors of some private hospitals and nursing homes also expressed fears about not getting paid for the services rendered under the scheme. “There will be a new government in the next few days. BJP has already announced that BSKY will be replaced. We have a three-months bill pending with the government. We are apprehensive as we do not know whether the bills will be cleared or not,” said an owner of a nursing home.

BSKY is a flagship health assurance scheme of the previous Naveen Patnaik government that provides annual health coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family and an additional Rs 5 lakh for the women members. While BSKY is fully state-funded, Ayushman Bharat will be jointly funded by the Centre and state in the ratio of 60:40.

A complaints began to pour in from several places about hospitals not honouring BSKY cards and turning away patients, Samal had to clarify that his statement did not mean discontinuation of BSKY. “The change of government is a process and using this as a pretext to deprive people of healthcare is a social and constitutional crime,” he and warned hospitals against such actions.

Asking the hospitals to continue provide quality healthcare under the scheme, he urged the state administration to keep a tab on the false rumours.

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