Baby dies waiting for Madhya Pradesh govt to clear dues on free heart surgery scheme

Salil Mekaad| TNN | Sep 19, 2017, 12:34 IST

INDORE: The death of a babysupposed to get free heart treatment under a national government scheme has triggered a row over Madhya Pradesh’s unpaid hospital dues— adding up to Rs 2 crore — to a well-known Bengaluru-based hospital under the welfare plan.
The 24-day-old girl from Dhar died last Saturday. Her family says treatment was denied to her despite having a sanction letter for the Rajya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) from the Dhar chief medical and health officer. The Bengaluru-based Narayana Hrudayalaya Ltd refuted the allegations, and said that the Madhya Pradesh government has a huge outstanding.

“We don’t turn away patients. We have a ‘Have a Heart’ scheme under which such patients are treated,” said NH Health City COO Joseph Pasangha, adding that four other patients from MP are admitted currently under the scheme. “There is an outstanding due since last year that the Madhya Pradesh government is yet to pay,” he said.

Confirming this, Madhya Pradesh principal secretary health Gauri Singh told TOI, “We have taken cognizance of the matter. The government has to pay Narayana Hrudayalaya Ltd an amount of Rs 2 crore.”

The child was born with a congenital heart disease — narrowing of aorta — on August 23, and needed immediate surgery. She was referred to the Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Narayana Hrudayalaya Health City, on September 11.

“The hospital, after receiving Rs 10,000 as deposit, admitted the child and ran tests for the next couple of days. Then, they asked for payment, saying they couldn’t continue the treatment otherwise,” her uncle Sumit told TOI. “We were told that the Madhya Pradesh government has crores of rupees in dues. ‘Get the money for the child’s treatment from the government, or pay yourself’ — that was their reply,” Sumit alleged.

Running from pillar to post for the money, the child’s father Manoj Verma came in contact with volunteers of Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali (KJC), a health NGO. “We intervened and asked the hospital to communicate with the MP government while treating the child, but they continued to ask for payments from the family. How can the child be made a tool by the hospital to get dues cleared from a government?” KJC Karnataka state co-convenor Akhila Vasan said.

On September 16, the parents got the child discharged and were given a bill of Rs 91,000, copies of which are with TOI. KJC intervened and got a discount of Rs 11,000 for the family. “We paid Rs 80,000 to the hospital and left,” Sumit said. Unfortunately, the child died the same day while the family was leaving for Dhar.
The government is concerned that Narayana Hrudayalaya case might not be the only one. “We are collecting information from all 51 districts about the patients referred to hospitals. Once the data is collected, the dues will be cleared,” Singh said.
Earlier this year, the MP government had decentralised sanctioning of RBSK referrals and authorized district collectors and CMHOs to release the money directly to hospitals. As many as 15,000 children are referred under RBSK to different hospitals, including those situated outside the state.
“We need to look at the solutions. We plan to link the sanctions to MPOnline portal and make a payment gateway allowing the release of funds from the portal to the hospitals, once the sanctions are uploaded by the collectors or CMHOs on to the website,” the principal secretary said. The system will be in place by November, she added.

In Video: Baby dies waiting for MP govt to clear dues on free heart surgery scheme



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