Date:24/11/2009 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/11/24/stories/2009112453550400.htm
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Karnataka - Bangalore

Suvarna Arogya Suraksha scheme to take effect in March

Afshan Yasmeen

It is aimed at strengthening medical services for the rural masses


Bangalore: Hanumappa Gangadhar, a migrant labourer from Koppal, was worried about the high cost of treatment for his seven-year-old son who has congenital heart defects. But he and also the nearly 16 lakh poor families need not worry as the

State Government’s Suvarna Arogya Suraksha, a cashless tertiary healthcare scheme for BPL families of five districts of north Karnataka, is to come into effect in March.

On a fast track mode the State Government has started the process of empanelling hospitals where affected families can avail themselves of treatment.

Trust

A trust formed exclusively to implement the project held a consultative meeting on Saturday with representatives from various hospitals, including major government facilities, to decide on the rates for various medical procedures that one can avail himself of under the scheme.

Announced in the State Budget for 2009-2010, the scheme is aimed at strengthening medical services and also providing quality and affordable healthcare to the rural masses.

Although it was touted as a free health insurance scheme for the poor, it has now been converted into a cent per cent subsidised health project for below the poverty line (BPL) families.

Executive Director of the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust G. Kumar Naik told The Hindu on Monday that Saturday’s consultative meeting finalised a list of 300 surgical procedures that the BPL families could avail themselves of.

Under the first phase, the scheme would benefit nearly 16 lakh BPL families in Gulbarga, Koppal, Raichur, Bellary and Bidar districts. Gradually, the scheme would be extended to other parts of the State, Mr. Naik pointed out.

Speciality treatment

Under the scheme, all BPL families could seek super–speciality treatment and undergo essential and life-saving surgeries for free.

“This scheme is different from Yeshaswini. The beneficiaries will have access to free medical treatment up to Rs. 1.5 lakh for 300 identified diseases in government hospitals and a network of corporate and middle-level hospitals spread across the State. Five members of each family will be covered under the scheme and an additional buffer of Rs. 50,000 per year for the entire family on a case-to-case basis will also be available,” Mr. Naik explained.

“Unlike Yeshaswini, transactions under the new scheme are cashless. The Government will bear the entire cost,” he said and added that Rs. 250 crore will be required annually to implement the scheme.”

Pointing out that the empanelled hospitals would be asked to conduct at least one free medical camp a month in the identified districts, Mr. Naik said: “The scheme is for treatment of catastrophic illnesses involving hospitalisation, surgery and therapies such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer treatment, surgical oncology, chemotherapy, radiation oncology, neurological diseases, renal diseases, burns, poly trauma cases (those that are not covered by motor vehicle insurance) and neo-natal.”

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