ECHS Facilities to Ex-Servicemen

The Government has sanctioned 426 Polyclinics for Ex- Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS). 227 Polyclinics were sanctioned in the year 2002, all of which are functional. Due to increasing ESM population an additional 199 Polyclinics including 17 Mobile Clinics were sanctioned in October 2010, out of which 43 Polyclinics are operational, thus at present 270 Polyclinics are functioning. In addition the Government has sanctioned 15 new Regional Centers to strengthen the ECHS Services, out of which 6 Regional Centers are already functional. As on 1st March, 2012, there are 39,46,898 beneficiaries which include 12,34,069 ex-servicemen and 27,12,829 dependents.
The ECHS beneficiaries can avail treatment at state Government hospitals/Clinics. The cost of treatment at Government hospitals is reimbursed at the approved rates and 80% advance of the estimated cost of the treatment at Government hospitals/Clinics is admissible to the ECHS beneficiaries.
At present 1383 Private hospitals/Dental Clinics/Diagnostics Centers and Eye clinics throughout the country are empanelled with ECHS, where the ECHS beneficiaries can avail cashless treatment. In emergency cases, reimbursement is made at approved rates, even for treatment in non-empanelled hospitals.
This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Dr MM Pallam Raju in written reply to Shri Virender Kashyap and Shri Kuldeep Bishnoi in Lok Sabha on 26 Mar 2012.

Consultation rates at ECHS empannelled hospitals

The rates seemed to have been formalised in a hurry and without applying proper logic. The history of ECHS rates goes as below.

1. In 2002 first set of rates were introduced and implemented.
2.In 2008 new set of rates were introduced and implemented. These rates were lower than that of 2002 and many hospitals refused to get empannelled. The concerned authorities have rescended the above rates and reverted to 2002 rates.
3.In 2011 yet another set of new rates have been introduced and implemented. These rates are much lower than2008 rates.

A smple of rates as per 2011 order:

1. Consultation fee for a doctor in hospital – Non NBAH accredited : Rs.50 against 2002 rate of Rs.75
2.Consultation fee for a doctor in hospital – NBAH accredited : Rs.58
3.Consultation fee for a doctor in hospital – Multi Speciality Hospital : Rs.294
Multi Speciality hospital is defined as hospital with 300 beds and atleast 5 specialities are treated. By this logic super speciality hospitals like Sankara Netralaya, Narayana Hridayala will get Rs.58 as consultation.

What is in it for us:
1. Due to the haphazard definition, many of the super speciality hospitals will be out of reach for all of us, through referrals of ECHS.
2.Treatments under ECHS will become more of a eye wash, as many of the veterans will be referred to only those hospitals, who agree to the lower rates.
3. The purpose of ECHS was to provide quality Healthcare to veterans, where such facilities are not available in Military Hospitals. It would remain a dream and only on paper.

I request all the veterans to ponder over and suggest ways to stop this and reverse the degeneration of ECHS facilities, even if they can not be improved.

I am of the openion that we( Not just IAFveterans but all veterans in any group) should get together and plan for action.
Some of the actions coming to my mind are:
1. Petetion to the appropriate authorities for review of the same
2.Approaching courts for the stay of the impugned order and revision

Please contact below mentioned person for further details:

Rtn S.Varadarajan
Rotary Club of Madras T.Nagar
Dist 3230

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