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Pvt nursing home accepts Swasthya Sathi card, starts treatment after patient's family lodges plaint

Kolkata: A private nursing home was compelled to accept Swasthya Sathi card of a patient after the latter's family members registered a complaint against its authorities with Patuli police for denying treatment under the state-sponsored health scheme.

The nursing home—Red Plus Society Nursing Home—in Baghajatin had to return Rs 13,000 to the family. The authorities had allegedly denied treatment to an elderly woman, Sikha Rani Sen.

Earlier, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had cautioned all private hospitals and nursing homes that they cannot refuse treatment to the patients having a Swasthya Sathi card. Such violation could also lead to cancellation of the establishment's license. Sen, a local resident, was admitted to the nursing home a couple of days back with various age-related ailments. Kanu Sen, patient's son, produced the Swasthya Sathi card at the nursing home. But, the authorities told him that the card would not be accepted as the patient was not undergoing any surgery.

The nursing home told the patient's family that they would have to pay the treatment cost in cash. The family members also paid around Rs 13,000.

A senior health department official said there is no such demarcation under Swasthya Sathi card that the government will not pay if someone does not require a surgery. The Swasthya Sathi card entitles a family to avail treatment up to a cost of Rs 5 lakh a year. The nursing home authorities, however, backtracked and returned the money after the family went to the police station. The incident was reported in several news channels.

The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC), which regulates the private health establishments, has already stated that they will also recommend the government for the cancellation of licenses if any hospital denies Swasthya Sathi card.

Dr Santanu Sen, state Secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA), said Bengal is the only state that provides treatment completely free. Any incident of denial of admission under Swasthya Sathi scheme is not tolerable. If someone indulges in such practice, register a complaint against the particular private health establishment, Dr Sen urged people.

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