Mounting dues ail Telangana’s Aarogyasri public health scheme

Hyderabad: Corporate hospitals have stopped accepting Aarogyasri services, a health scheme for the common public, for the past two months owing to piling up of dues from the Telangana government. According to the Telangana Super Specialties Hospitals’ Association (TSSHA), the outstanding dues are nearly Rs 500 crore.

About 10 corporate hospitals, including one whose management is very close to the ruling party, have stopped Aarogyasri services, said sources.

Almost all the corporate hospitals have shut their exclusive wards set up for Aarogyasri patients. Few have even locked the facility, while some are continuing with only knee joint replacement and heart surgery as they fear government pressure if they discontinue the scheme. Sources said these services are more profitable for hospitals as they give them a comfortable margin up to 50 percent.

Corporate hospitals have been expressing concerns over the pending amounts for the past six months. Under the scheme, private hospitals cover 832 diseases. The scheme involves a network of 329 hospitals providing 41,300 beds to patients.

The Telangana government spends Rs 800 crore a year under Aarogyasri. Pending dues under the scheme are around Rs 500 crore. After a series of discussions, the state released Rs 2050 crore, said TSSHA. Still, there are pending dues of Rs 350 crore. If dues for August, September, October are included, then the total amount will be Rs 500 crore, said the association. (the mention of Rs 2050 crore and Rs 350 crore is not very clear)

TSSHA president Dr Rajesh said the government doesn’t seem to be interested in continuing Aarogyasri. “Then why should we accept Aarogyasri. Expenditure is increasing by the day. The Telangana government is implementing the package rates as decided in 2007 in 2019 also. It’s not viable for the hospitals. Moreover, dues are not paid in time. How can we continue with the scheme?”

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