Delay in payments under Ayushman Bharat hits patients

Ayushman Bharat - Golden Cards

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir administration is delaying payment to private healthcare centres under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Golden Card scheme) in J&K which has resulted in delays in the treatment of patients who need immediate surgeries.

Under the scheme, the government pays the treatment charges of patients directly into the accounts of the healthcare centres where the patients avail the facility.

The scheme in convergence with Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) provides a Health Insurance Cover of Rs. 5 lakh/family/year to all the residents of UT of Jammu and Kashmir including serving and retired employees.

As per the scheme, the payment is to be cleared after 15 days without any bottlenecks to the healthcare centres.

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Hundreds of patients have benefited from the scheme as they availed of free treatment from private healthcare centres which otherwise prove costly for them. The Golden Cards have made the treatment free.

Owners of several healthcare centres said that they have not received the payment from the Ayushman Bharat. “We are not able to do surgeries and other kinds of treatment to patients as we are not getting the payment on time,” said an owner of a healthcare centre in Srinagar.

“We owe money to medical agencies from where we purchase equipment and medicine for the treatment of patients. Owing to the unpaid amount due to them, we can’t buy equipment and medicine as they refuse,” he said, adding, “This has resulted in delaying of treatment to patients.”

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Social activist Dr Raja Muzaffar said that due to delays in payments, many private hospitals were refusing to treat patients in Srinagar.

“The poor patients are suffering and many have to take loans for surgeries and other costly treatments. If this is a scheme of the PM, then the government should not withhold payments to private hospitals. I appeal to Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta to intervene,” Bhat said.

Chief Executive Officer Ayushman Bharat Yasin Choudhary wasn’t available for comments in this connection.

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