05 July 2012
In what comes as a huge respite for the lower middle class segment, which finds cost of prolonged medical care financially devastating, the state government is introducing a concession scheme to be implemented in three hospitals on Civil Hospital campus – G R Doshi and K M Mehta Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Centre, U N Mehta Heart Hospital and M P Shah Cancer Hospital.
Under this scheme, the hospitals will bear 50 per cent of the medicine and hospital expenses of patients – earning less than Rs 2 lakh per annum. The benefit also extends to five members in the patient’s immediate family. This means that for a kidney transplant, which costs anywhere between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh at the kidney hospital, the patient will have to spend only between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. The remaining cost will be borne by the hospital. The health department has, through Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), allocated Rs 3 crore each to these hospitals for 2012–13 to implement the scheme.
Very soon, the grants will be released to the three hospitals. To reap benefit of the scheme, patients will have to produce income certificate signed by a revenue officer. Dr P D Vitthlani, additional director, DMER, Gandhinagar, said, "The state government has several schemes for belowpoverty–line familes and those belonging to scheduled castes and schedule tribes. But middle–class families are not entitled to such benefits. Healthcare issues in particular have been a major source of distress for the middle class that earns only enough to sustain families. "
On March 31, government had passed a resolution stating that the Rs 9 crore grant is being given to three hospitals for the year 2012–13. "The government will release the grants soon," Vitthlani added.
Director of Cancer Hospital Dr Shilin Shukla said, "Those from lower middle class don’t earn so much that they can afford the expensive treatment and don’t earn so little that they can reap benefits given to BPL families. The government has been seeking details pertaining to hospital expenses incurred for different types of cancer to lay down guidelines to fund the beneficiaries."
Dr R K Patel, director of UN Mehta Heart Hospital, said, "Yes, under the new government scheme, hospital can fund half of the treatment cost incurred by patients with income less than Rs 2 lakh."
State govt will fund half of healthcare costs incurred by patients earning annual income less than Rs 2 lakh at kidney, heart and cancer hospitals on Civil Hospital campus