Government stops reimbursing health facilities for providing free services to ‘disadvantaged citizen’

  • Dozens of state and private health facilities have signed the agreement with the ministry and have been providing services accordingly
- ARJUN PAUDEL, Kathmandu

May 12, 2019-

Health facilities in the last six months have not received reimbursement from the Ministry of Health and Population for providing care to ‘disadvantaged citizens’.

In the absence of reimbursement, health facilities across the country have warned that they would be compelled to stop providing health services to patients who visit these facilities.

If the health facilities take this step, hundreds of patients suffering from renal problems, cardiovascular disease, cancer, parkinson’s, alzheimer’s, spinal injury, head injury and sickle cell anemia will be affected.

The government has committed to providing free dialysis service to patients suffering from renal failure and offers Rs400,000 each to patients opting for a  kidney transplant. Patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, cancer, parkinson’s, alzheimer's, spinal injury, head injury and sickle cell anemia can receive free treatment of upto Rs100,000 each from health facilities, as per the agreement signed with the Health Ministry.

Dozens of government as well as private health facilities have signed the agreement with the ministry and have been providing services accordingly.

Dr Rishi Kumar Kafle, executive director at the National Kidney Center, told the Post, “It’s already been six months since we received the last reimbursement. We have to receive Rs100 million in reimbursement. We have to pay the suppliers too and we will not be able to continue giving free services if we fail to pay the suppliers on time.”

According to Kafle, since the concerned agencies under the ministry failed to carry out their duties effectively, lives of hundreds of patients suffering from serious ailment hang in the balance.

Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the Health Ministry, concedes that the ministry stopped reimbursing hospitals for providing treatment to patients under the ‘disadvantaged citizen treatment programme’ and ‘safe motherhood programme’ too.

“We have asked for additional amount with the Ministry of Finance but the ministry has asked us to continue the programme from the budget of the current fiscal year, which we could not use,” said Shrestha, “We have to transfer the budget to reimburse funds to hospitals.”

He said that the government is committed to continuing all the programmes and that his ministry would sanction reimbursement amount to health facilities at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Health Dr Pushpa Chaudhary on Sunday said that her ministry has even stopped registering cancer patients due to budget crunch.

Published: 13-05-2019 07:00

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