Pvt hosps set up Swasthya Sathi help desks
Kolkata: Prodded by the state government to ensure better healthcare services under the Swasthya Sathi scheme, most of the top private hospitals in the city have come up with help desks and a more robust public address system.
The private hospitals have to treat patients in all the departments under the Swasthya Sathi scheme, which makes the state government's flagship health project a universal scheme. The scheme covers the entire population.
Earlier, the private hospitals opted for particular disciplines. Now, the government has instructed the private hospital authorities to provide treatment in all the disciplines under the Swasthya Sathi scheme which is a comprehensive and free family floater health cover for secondary and tertiary medical care up to Rs 5 lakh per annum. The treatment must entail hospitalisation.
After the recent announcement made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to provide healthcare to all, the scheme has been extended to the entire population.
A variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures are covered. There is no cap on the family size and the parents of both the spouses are entitled to avail the health services. A smart card is issued to each family which enables cashless hospitalisation.
During a recent high-level meeting between Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and the representatives of the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI), the former urged the latter to set up a dedicated Swasthya Sathi desk in each private hospital that has been enrolled for the scheme.
The private hospitals were also asked to formulate a standard operating procedure (SoP) for implementing Swasthya Sathi scheme. The state government had laid emphasis on the help desk and the public address system so that the hospitals coordinate with the patients in a better way and ensure that the family members do not face any harassment.
A senior official of a private hospital said Swasthya Sathi help desks exist in most of the hospitals. Swasthya Sathi has been converted into a universal healthcare scheme that needs to be factored into the help desk system. "The SOP is being formulated. It will then be presented before the Health Secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam during the next meeting with AHEI," he said.
The AHEI has set up a six-member task force, which will act as the nodal authority for all Swasthya Sathi-related matters on behalf of the association of private healthcare service providers in Kolkata. The Task Force includes Rupak Barua, president, AHEI, and Group CEO, AMRI Hospitals, R Venkatesh, Regional Director, Narayana Hrudalaya, Pradip Tondon, CEO, Belle Vue Clinic, Richa Deb Gupta, Senior V-P, Fortis Hospitals, Rana Dasgupta, CEO, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals and Dr Alok Roy, chairman, Medica Hospitals.