By Times of India – Haryana may tweak income bar, so more can access EWS benefits at hospitals GURUGRAM: The Haryana government is planning to raise the maximum monthly income bar for patients from economically weaker sections (EWS) — from the current Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 — to be eligible for free treatment at private hospitals. The suggestions were made by the health department and the Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) during a review meeting with three top city hospitals — Medanta, Fortis and Artemis — on Sunday. HSVP officials also recommended that private hospitals should cap the cost of medicines for such patients. EWS benefits at hospitals“We have suggested that the hospitals provide them generic medicines. We have noticed that they sometimes give discounted bills, sometimes up to 70%. Even that is beyond the scope of an EWS/BPL patient,” said Vivek Kalia, estate officer, HSVP-II, Gurugram. Kalia added that increasing the monthly income criteria to Rs 10,000 will benefit more people now. As per HSVP policy, private hospitals that have been allotted sites in Huda sectors or any urban estate of Haryana will provide free services to 20% of the total OPD patients. For indoor patients, they are supposed to reserve 10% of their beds in EWS category. Super-specialty hospitals are supposed to charge subsidised rates — 30% of the regular charges for 20% of functional beds — in addition to providing free OPD services to 20% of patients from the weaker sections of society. According to health department data, Medanta, Fortis and Artemis together treated 2,368 EWS patients in the five months from January to May. Less than 3% of total treated patients in the OPDs were from EWS category. While Artemis offered Rs 48.5 lakh in discount to EWS patients, Medanta gave Rs 40.74 lakh concession and Fortis provided Rs 23 lakh reduction. “We will refer more EWS patients to private hospitals as the registration of poor patients is less in OPDs,” said a health department official.
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