Telangana state health department appears to be in a financial crisis, after an emerging report that 170-odd private hospitals under Aarogyasri have threatened to call a strike. The matter concerning them is the non-payment of their dues worth 200 crore over the past five and a half months. However, no data has been confirmed yet for beginning the strike, or stalling the Aarogyasri services.
Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts in Telangana have the highest number of 105 private empanelled Aarogyasri hospitals, followed by 26 in Warangal, 17 in Karimnagar, nine in Khammam, eight in Nizamabad, five in Mahbubnagar and four in Medak.
Other issues concerning the private hospitals include that the team under Aarogyasri hospitals is required to conduct health camps thrice in a month, which can be as far as 300 km away sometimes.
It has been more than two weeks since the office-bearers of the Telangana Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association, (THANA) brought their plight to the notice of the Aarogyasri Health Care Trust (AHCT) officials. However, there has been no response yet, they rued, as confirmed by TOI.
“We have not yet finalised the dates, but it is true we are planning to go on strike. Such is our situation that a drastic step has to be taken as some of our members are unable to pay salaries and meet hospital expenditure due to non-payment of Aarogyasri dues,” said D Narayan Rao, state president, THANA.
Factually, as implied by a report in the TOI, since June 2, 2014 the private empanelled Aarogyasri hospitals were permitted by the AHCT to carry out medical procedures worth Rs 774 crore on 2,81,548 patients. But the pending amount has started accumulated only in last five and a half months.
Besides non-payment of dues, private empanelled Aarogyasri hospitals are also miffed with the AHCT for several issues that they claimed were brought in the name of reforms. “Our members are equally frustrated with AHCT’s arbitrary deduction amounting to 30-50% of the package rate for many surgical procedures on flimsy grounds even after giving us pre-authorisation to carry out the procedure. This has to change,” said Dr T Narasinga Reddy, chairman of Aarogyasri wing of THANA.
When contacted, Dr M Govardhan Reddy, chief medical auditor, AHCT, Telangana denied any financial crisis. “Just two days ago, THANA office bearers held a meeting with AHCT, but nobody raised the issue of non-payment of dues. In fact, we also made partial reimbursements worth Rs 50 crore to empanelled hospitals,” he said. However, THANA office bearers refuted this claim.