Thousands of patients have been given free eye surgeries at various state-run medical colleges and hospitals, after the state government took a significant decision to bring eye surgeries under the coverage of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY).
For a long time, below poverty line (BPL) patients requiring eye surgeries could not avail benefits under the RSBY. As a result, many suffering various eye diseases were seriously inconvenienced and could not manage the cost of the operation.
Keeping the problem in view, the state government decided to take up initiatives so that eye surgeries can be brought under the coverage of the RSBY.
The state government’s move started paying off as thousands of poor patients are now availing eye treatment and surgeries free of any cost at the government hospitals.
Earlier, in case of eye surgeries, patients could not avail insurance coverage under the RSBY. But now, delicate operations like phacoemulsification, cataract and other eye surgeries are being done for patients for free. As a result of the coverage plan, all patients can get the free surgeries from the government hospitals empanelled with the RSBY.
There were other technical issues as well in case of cataract operations. In most cataract surgert cases, patients do not require hospitalisation. They are released from the hospital as soon as the operation is over. As per the existing norms, poor patients could not get the insurance coverage under the central scheme.
But now, those patients are entitled to insurance coverage under RSBY, if they get admitted in state-run government hospitals.
With an aim to bring these patients under the RSBY scheme, the state government has come up with many new facilities which would benefit poor patients.
The state government has taken a prudent decision as eye disorders among the poor have become rampant not only in the state but in the entire country. If one visits a hospital, he/she can see that the outpatient departments (OPD) of state-run hospitals are full of patients.
Various voluntary organisations have been organising check-up camps, conducting cataract surgeries and distributing eye lenses free of cost among the poor strata of society. But this was not enough to handle the pressure of innumerable patients. Against this backdrop, the inclusion of patients with eye problems under the RSBY is a major step towards providing them permanent relief. Many patients requiring power spectacles after cataract surgery for proper vision have also been distributed the spectacles free of cost.
Patients belonging to below poverty line (BPL) category were entitled to get insurance coverage under this scheme for bypass surgery, other surgeries or in cases in which patients get hospitalised. But in case of phacoemulsification, cataract or other eye surgeries no insurance coverage was available for these patients under the RSBY.
The main objective of the RSBY is to provide free health services to BPL households so that the families can get insurance in case hospitalisation is required.
Beneficiaries under RSBY are entitled to get coverage up to Rs 30,000 for most of diseases that require hospitalisation. The patients can avail the facilities of the Central scheme from the first day of hospitalisation.