City hospitals reach out to patients facing cash crisis
With the cash crunch presenting a serious problem to patients in making payments to the medical facilities for treatment received, most hospitals in the city have come forward to help them by accepting cheques and debit or credit cards.
Some hospitals in the city are also accepting ‘undertaking’ in emergency cases promising future payment.
Cheques are being accepted by most medical facilities from local people as well as overseas patients, mostly from Bangladesh and Nepal.
Medica Super Speciality Hospital vice-chairman and consultant cardiac surgeon Dr Kunal Sarkar said: “It’s our responsibility to provide treatment to our patients. We have started a helpline where patients can contact us. In cases of emergency, we are accepting undertakings from patients (both local and foreign).”
Sarkar said the hospital authority was also asking patients to bring one local guarantor, though there was an element of risk involved in asking them to do so.
“This is only a temporary crisis, anyway,” he remarked.
AMRI Group of Hospitals Group CEO Rupak Barua said that the medical facility was accepting cheques as well as debit and credit cards.
“We are asking our patients in cases of emergency to bring one local guarantor. And in cases of surgeries we are requesting them to deposit cheques two to three days prior the operation is scheduled,” Barua said.
Narayana Health Network Zonal director (East) R Venkatesh said that they offered free consultation on November 9, the day after demonetisation was announced by the Centre, across all specialities in the state to extend maximum help to people.
“We have not refused treatment during this period. Most patients from Bangladesh or Nepal are paying through US currency or using RTGS. In some cases we are accepting cheques.
“Otherwise patients are paying through credit or debit cards also. There are cases when we have admitted patients on credit and helped patients on highly discounted bills,” Venkatesh said.
The Apollo Gleneagles Hospital is also accepting cheques and because the facility has a foreign exchange counter at the hospital, foreign patients admitted there are not facing any problem, a senior official said.
“Most of the patients are paying through plastic cards.
But we are accepting cheques also. We are not facing any problem at our facility,” the senior official said.