Jeevandai Arogya Yojana :

(Mediclaim for patients below poverty line)

The government has implemented Jeevandai Aarogya Yojana in the Maharashtra State from 11th Oct 1997 to provide financial help to financially weaker sections of the society and the people below poverty line for providing super specialty services. In this programme, financial help upto Rs.1.5 Lakhs is provided to the beneficiary for getting services from the recognized hospitals. Since the year 2006, cancer illness is also included in this scheme. Since 2011 with necessary modifications the scheme is labeled as Rajeev Gandhi Jeevandai Yojana. This is a paperless and cashless scheme that involves health cards that will be linked to the unique identification number the one that is launched for every citizen. A call centre and Kiosks in designated hospitals will govern the functioning of this scheme. The state of Maharashtra has kept aside Rs.1000 Crore for the insurance scheme. This amount will be used to pay the insurance premium for 2.6 Crore people earning less than Rs. One lakh per year and holding yellow and saffron ration cards.

In the Sant Tukaram Cancer Hospital, Akola the scheme has been started in the year 2008. In the year 2008-09, 253 cancer patients have been treated. In the year 2009-10 the number came down to 156 because for few months the radiation department was under additional construction and new Bhabhatron-II Cobalt Unit was installed. In 2010-11, 280 patients could get the benefit under this scheme. Statistically amongst this class of patients falling under BPL 46% cancer patients were males and 54% were females. Amongst the males, cancer of Oropharyngeal region was more common while amongst females cancer of breast was predominant.

The Jeevandai Aarogya Yojana though apparently appears to be most suitable and beneficial for the patients from poor segment of the society, many a times we have to suffer the brunt of non payments from the governmental agency. The submission of bills, scrutiny from the civil surgeon and sanction from the Deputy Director of Health service involves a huge paperwork. Objections are raised on silly reasons and the bills and kept pending for months together. Lakhs of rupees thus are simply not paid by the government. Our institution is not a rich institute to bear this financial burden. We keep on writing to several health agenies till the ministry of health but in vain. In the year 2010-2011around 65 lacs of rupees were pending and still government insisted to continue with the scheme. The annual 10% interest with an unnecessary burden for us to bear on the whole scheme was run on bank loan. How can we continue to run the scheme without financial aid from the government? After several protests and hammening the political leaders the subject was raised into the legislative assembly and then the sanction was released. (The photocopy of the news paper article is attached herwith).

The objectives and action plan of the scheme is more confused than understood at all the levels. As regards the sanction for operating surgeries charges, at one paragraph it mentions yes, it can be given while on submission of the bills, the story is different. On not a single occasion operating surgeons charges were sanctioned. How can an honorary surgeon who is a super specialist oncosurgeon and on many occasions he perform complicated surgeries for 8-10 hours with the team of anesthetists and assistant surgeons be spared from payment of his professional charges? Similarly certain vital investigations essential from prognostic point of view like CT scan, MRI and PET scan are also not admissible under this scheme. We have written many times to the government but in vain.

The admissible money is suctioned only once for the cancer patients who most of the times require treatment for years together. There is no follow-up treatment section in this scheme. So there is a big question mark in front of the patients once the sanction is exhausted. There are no clear indications from any health authorities regarding such chronically ill patients.

Unlike that of a patient of mitral valve replacement who, after the replacement of the valve doesn’t need any further sanction as against the cancer patients whose treatment is a perpetual process for quite a length of time.

Let us hope the new Rajeev Gandhi Jeevandai Yojana comes up with better hopes and special considerations for the cancer patients.