Have a heart!
That private hospitals, though only in Hyderabad, have decided to resume from Thursday services for Aarogyasri beneficiaries needing angioplasties is...
That private hospitals, though only in Hyderabad, have decided to resume from Thursday services for Aarogyasri beneficiaries needing angioplasties is welcome news. They had, across Andhra Pradesh, stopped performing the procedure from August 15. The health scheme had been conceived for such poor persons as could not pay for their treatment of ordinary ailments or heart trouble.
According to a conservative estimate, at least 300 angioplasties are needed to be performed in the State every day. Yet private hospitals stopped performing them, demanding that the State government increase the recently slashed tariff. The tariff was slashed from Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 40,000 by the Aarogyasri Trust in June, ostensibly to check exploitation. This reduction in payment reportedly resulted from the view that most of the angioplasties were performed even when they were not required. If there indeed was such a malpractice, the Trust should have investigated such cases and taken action against the errant hospitals. Instead, by reducing the tariff across the board, the Trust has only deprived the poor of essential medical attention.
On their part, private hospitals should have realized that they could not expect the poor to pay, or the Trust to pay on their behalf, what others could and did. Of course, private hospitals are not run for charity; but was it not heartless to expect the poor to pay what the middle class and the rich could? State-run hospitals are yet to inspire confidence among the poor to make them flock to them for treatment, either free or for a nominal charge. It is also true that even the poor beg, borrow or steal to have themselves treated in private hospitals even though not every private hospital deserves that respect. Nobody can deny that there are many private hospitals throughout Andhra Pradesh, even in Hyderabad, whose medical staff is not exactly qualified.