Kolkata private hospitals slam brakes on Swasthya Sathi admissions – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: Admission of patients under the Swasthya Sathi (SS) scheme — a subsidized state government insurance plan that offers coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh a year — has been stalled at several city private hospitals which have “ run out of beds” to accommodate these patients. While some say their SS wards are full, others claim they are not in a position to admit more patients under the scheme due to financial and space constraints.
Some hospitals also say that due to the low rates of the scheme, doctors often refuse to treat or operate upon SS patients, which is why they are forced to keep the number of these patients small.

Most city hospitals have earmarked a certain number of beds for the scheme, which have been squeezed in recent weeks with a sharp rise in the number of non-Covid patients who had delayed treatment due to the pandemic. Majority of these patients are covered by non-Swasthya Sathi insurance.
Fortis Hospital, for instance, has stopped admitting patients — both Covid and non-Covid — under the scheme. No official reason has been offered for the decision.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital has 30 SS patients admitted currently and isn’t admitting any new ones. “The number has been hovering between 30-40 for the last several months but we have no ICU vacancy for SS patients now. While this is one of the reasons for not admitting more SS patients, the number has never crossed 40 at our hospital,” said Medica chairperson Alok Roy.
Belle Vue Clinic, too, has stopped SS admissions after taking in 22 patients. “If vacancies happen and we believe we have the resources to cater to these patients, we might admit more. But at the moment, we are saturated,” said a Belle Vue official.
AMRI Hospitals has 60 beds earmarked for SS across its three units at Dhakuria, Salt Lake and Mukundapur. The wards are currently “overflowing” with around 75 admitted under this category. It is putting a strain on the resources of the hospitals, which is why on-the-spot admissions have been stopped, said AMRI CEO Rupak Barua.
“We are not in a position to admit more since the clinical charges of Swasthya Saathi are not feasible for us. Patients are being asked to return after 3-7 days. That apart, delay in insurance payment has also put us under strain. While previously, it would be made in 20 days, now we are having to wait for 45-60 days,” said Barua.
Peerless Hospital currently has 38 SS patients and has no further vacancy. “Patients seeking admission will now have a substantial waiting period,” said Peerless CEO Sudipta Mitra.
Some like RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS), however, have kept its doors open for SS patients, despite a 90% occupancy now. “We have more than 60 SS patients admitted now and have no plans to stop admissions,” said RTIICS zonal head R Venkatesh.
Admissions under the scheme would have been easier had the rates been rationalized, felt Rupak Barua, also the president of Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI) . “We had appealed to the state government to rationalize the charges and are still waiting for a response,” he added.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/pvt-hosps-slam-brakes-on-swasthya-sathi-admissions/articleshow/86277089.cms