Central govt pensioners, staff denied CGHS benefits
Chandigarh Empanelment done but rates can’t be fixed as there is only one bidder in super-speciality hospital category
The tricity’s Central government employees and pensioners are not able to avail the full benefits of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) for the sole reason that it has has only one super-speciality hospital. As there is a lone applicant in the super-speciality category, the authorities have not been able to fix rates which have to be compared through a tendering process. The region has more than 10,000 CGHS beneficiaries, some of whom have either been visiting hospitals in the NCR or have put their surgeries on hold, waiting for the local institute to start the service. Sources said the that Mohali-based super-speciality had applied for the CGHS empanelment in November 2009 and was assured that the tender would be processed in a month. But things moved at a slow pace as there was no other institute that could offer tenders. A senior officer at the Mohali hospital said that the authorities were unable to reach a consensus on super-speciality charges and after much dilly-dallying, they proposed to offer Delhi rates. last December the hospital received a letter from the CGHS additional director, informing it about the empanelment. It was also invited to sign a memorandum of agreement but the hospital did not reply as there was no clarity on rates.
Hospitals are divided into three categories — national accreditation board hospitals (NABH), non-NABH and super-speciality hospitals. Although two city hospitals are offering the service, these are not super-specialities. CGHS joint director Dr S C Anand said, “We have written to the Mohali institute to sign the MoA but it has not replied. We will offer them Delhi rates as and when these are fixed.” When told that Delhi rates were fixed four months ago, he said that these have to be notified by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the Mohali hospital. Dr Anand, however, could not specify by when the problem would be resolved.
A senior official of the local super-speciality said though ironing out problems in the scheme was the job of the CGHS officers, he would shortly visit Delhi seeking an expeditious solution to the impasse. Dr Anand said that if the hospital officers wanted, he was ready to accompany them to pursue the matter with the higher authorities. Meanwhile, it is the CGHS beneficiaries who are at the receiving end. K S Suri, whose 89-year-old mother is a beneficiary, said, “Facilities for all Central government employees or retirees should be the same. Why should a Central government employee living in Chandigarh not get the benefits his counterparts living in metropolis get? Is he or she a lesser employee than the one living in Delhi or Mumbai?”
He pointed out that for a programme that concerns people’s health, decisions should be taken promptly and not like the present case, where more than a year has elapsed and a final word was still awaited. Sources said that members of some retirees and senior citizens’ association were up in arms against the CGHS officers for not heeding to their woes.