Dues pile up, hospitals ask Karnataka govt to make advance payment | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: As an increasing number of private hospitals struggle with dwindling cash flows with the government not clearing bills for treating Covid-19 patients, the clamour for an advance for treating those referred by the government is growing louder.
They argue that government not clearing bills has not just affected their cash flow, but is hampering their ability to treat patients as their vendors do not supply consumables if bills are unpaid.
Dr D Ramesh of Ramaiah Medical College said there have been 900 patients under the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) scheme and treatment worth Rs 3.5 crore has been provided. Of this, claims of over Rs 1.2 crore has been raised. “(A sum of) Rs 40 lakh has been approved but it’s yet to reach us. Apart from this there are another 100 cases under the Arogya Bhagya scheme for police. While we are using all our resources to battle the pandemic, it’s unfair that the government is not paying even the grossly subsidised amount they had agreed to,” he said.
On August 13, the government said SAST, through which it pays private hospital bills, is addressing queries related to pending bills. On August 14, SAST executive director NT Abroo, on being asked to elaborate on the details of pending bills, had told TOI: “Why should I give you any information?” On Sunday, Abroo said: “Who told you we’re not paying?” She did not elaborate how much has been cleared so far. “Why are you bothered about these issues?” she said before disconnecting the call.
Govt must release lumpsum amounts at once: Pvt hosps

Dr Prasanna HM, president-elect, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said as per SAST portal, there are dues worth Rs 400 crore. In a recent meeting, the department informed PHANA that Rs 1.5 crore has been reimbursed, which he called a pittance.
“Moreover, the portal is not user friendly and has technical problems. Submission of claims is a cumbersome process. The government should release lumpsum amounts at once instead of small sums without which it will be difficult for hospitals to survive,” he added.
Private hospitals said officials have been citing delay in bill submission and other technicalities for non-payment of bills. Dr S Gaekwad, immediate past president, PHANA, said there has been a growing concern and hospitals are struggling to cope with the problem as a significant amount remains pending.
Dr Govindaiah Yatheesh, honorary secretary, PHANA, said: “While the government is now proactive and we’ve been told that bills will be cleared, we have urged them to pay hospitals an advance, as was agreed upon earlier…”

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Sagar Biswas

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