Empanelled Hospitals Threaten Ayushman Bharat Service Halt Over Unpaid Funds


Matter being resolved: CEO State Health Agency


SRINAGAR, May 24: The empanelled private hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir have threatened to halt their services under the Ayushman Bharat scheme from June 1, 2024, due to non-receipt of funds since March this year.

According to details available here, the association of empanelled private hospitals has written to the Chief Secretary of J&K, stating their inability to continue services beyond the end of May 2024.

“The private hospitals and dialysis centres empanelled under the SEHAT scheme have not received any payment since March 15, 2024. We will be unable to continue with the said scheme beyond June 1, 2024,” reads the letter.

Private hospital owners have stated that they have exhausted their funds and cannot continue services under the scheme past this month. Last November, IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company, the insurer for Ayushman Bharat in J&K, informed SHA authorities of their decision not to renew the contract after its expiry on March 14, 2025.

Initially, the scheme was implemented through Bajaj Allianz GIC, whose contract ended in 2022. IFFCO-TOKIO was subsequently brought in but attempted to exit the scheme citing financial losses. Despite SHA’s requests for them to continue in the interest of patient care, the company refused.

The SHA approached the High Court to stay the exit, but the petition was dismissed on February 2, complicating matters further for both SHA and beneficiaries across the union territory. The government has since approached the division bench to stay the single bench order, making the issue sub-judice.

Due to non-payment since March 15, empanelled hospitals said they are facing severe financial strain, affecting their ability to provide services under the scheme. Hospital owners have stated that starting June 1, they will not accept golden cards, and patients will need to pay for services.

They have urged higher authorities to address the issue and release pending funds promptly.

Officials from SHA assured that the scheme is functioning normally and that the ongoing dispute with the insurance company does not affect its implementation. Empanelled hospitals are aware that funds are allocated for them, though delays are expected due to the dispute.

Approximately 1,500 patients benefit from this scheme daily in J&K, and services will continue for these patients, according to officials.

Sanjiv M Gadkar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the State Health Agency, Jammu and Kashmir said that the matter is being resolved. “The matter is being resolved and will be done shortly,” he said.

The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India on December 26, 2020. Over the past four years, thousands of patients have benefited from this scheme—(KNO)


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