Unpaid CGHS Dues Plaguing Private Hospitals

by Ritu Versha 4 years ago Views 3041

To compensate for their bad condition, government hospitals seek assistance from private hospitals. On the flip side, big private hospitals are demanding that the government clear their outstanding dues for providing free treatment services under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). The central government owes Rs 1,400 crore to private hospitals, which has now prompted the enterprises to write to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, seeking her help to get the pending dues cleared.

Despite having made several attempts to recover their dues from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the private hospitals have drawn a blank. This is the nodal ministry for implementing schemes such as the CGHS and Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).

In the letter written to the FM, the Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI), which represents the corporate healthcare sector, has sought a resolution so that the dues worth are paid to the hospitals at the earliest.

The beneficiaries of the CGHS facilities are central government employees and pensioners, sitting and former Members of Parliament, former governors and lieutenant governors, freedom fighters, sitting and former judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, and certain public sector units, among others. Beneficiaries receive cashless healthcare from empanelled private hospitals, who are later reimbursed by the government.

There is always a delay in receiving payments from the government under these schemes. However, the Finance Ministry has said in a reply that the payments to the hospitals had been delayed because only one-third of the health budget could be used till July.

According to the list submitted to Sitharaman, Max Healthcare has outstanding dues of Rs 147.77 crore under CGHS and Rs 75 crore under ECHS. Fortis Healthcare has outstanding dues of Rs 59.74 crore under CGHS and Rs 150.5 crore under ECHS. Likewise, Apollo Hospitals have an outstanding of Rs 69 crore under CGHS and Rs 71 crore under ECHS, and Medanta Medicity, Delhi-NCR, has an outstanding of Rs 57 crore under CGHS and Rs 38 crore under ECHS. In fact, Apollo officials allege that the dues are pending with the government for a long time, considering that the hospital is no more empanelled with CGHS for the last five years.

Most well known, private hospitals also claimed that since 2014 they have been serving patients under CGHS at heavily discounted prices. Hospitals signed agreements based on the terms defined by the CGHS, effective 1 October 2014, which has a provision to make 70% payment within five working days of submission of bills by hospitals.

As a result, private hospitals are facing a lot of difficulties in functioning due to a squeeze on their finances.

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