Free treatment schemes in doldrums in Kerala due to huge outstanding dues from govt, says Opposition Leader

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan (file)
| Photo Credit: Sreejith R. Kumar

Public sector hospitals in Kerala are on the brink of financial ruin because of the huge arrears the government owes them, Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said in the Kerala Assembly on July 2 (Tuesday).

During his address on the adjournment motion on the alarming manner in which public health activities had disintegrated in Kerala, Mr. Satheesan pointed out that the cost of care had been shooting up in the State.

He said that all free medical care schemes that had been brought in to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on health were in doldrums because of the huge outstanding amounts that the government owed public hospitals.

All public sector hospitals in Kerala are continuing to face a shortage of drugs even in the current financial year because as on June 14, the government owes over ₹615 crore to pharma companies.

The arrears that the government owes hospitals, both public and private, for providing free treatment under the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhati (KASP) has been climbing steadily and the figures are mind-boggling, he said.

Most private hospitals have stopped providing free treatment under KASP because they are unable to manage the situation without timely reimbursement from the government. But public hospitals cannot utilise such pressure tactics and are on the brink of financial ruin. The amount government owes public hospitals under KASP is ₹926.31 crore and the arrears owed to private hospitals under KASP is ₹329.50 crore, he said.

The government’s sole refrain was that it was winning awards for providing free treatment to the maximum number of people. That public hospitals have been left gasping for funds since the past three years is the other side of the story that the government chooses to brush under the carpet. Yet the budgetary allocation for KASP in this financial year too has only been ₹678.54 crore, said Mr. Satheesan.

Huge arrears have been run up under the free treatment schemes for the poor, run through public hospitals. These include Arogyakiranam (₹3.99 crore), Karunya Benevolent Fund (₹217.68 crore), Hridyam (₹10.12 crore); JSSK (₹34.87 crore), RBSK (₹10.12 crore), pointed out Mr. Satheesan.

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