Under Ayushman Bharat, hospitals use bizarre ways to siphon off funds -Ishita Mishra

-The Economic Times

Private hospitals have been accused of siphoning almost Rs 1.20 crore in just a few months.

About a year after introduction of the Ayushman Bharat scheme — the Union government’s programme for providing health protection cover to around 10 crore vulnerable families — truant doctors and hospitals in the tiny Himalayan state of Uttarakhand have come up with some of the most innovative ways of scamming the ambitious plan for a quick buck. Not that they haven’t been caught. But the string of frauds has put officials on a state of perpetual alert.

Private hospitals have been accused of siphoning almost Rs 1.20 crore of public funds in just a few months. And they seem to have done it in bizarre ways — from showing surgeries being conducted on patients who had actually been discharged days ago, to dialysis shown as having been performed in a facility where there was no kidney specialist.

In fact, quite a few hospitals in the hill state showed patients to be afflicted with deadly diseases while they were later found to have been suffering from common cold. Some hospitals showed operations done on patients whose surgeries had already been completed elsewhere. Yet others claimed money by submitting records of surgeries done on patients who were perfectly healthy.

Sample this. When a team of the National Health Authority (NHA), which visited Uttarakhand in May for a physical verification of beneficiaries, met a patient, they were in for a surprise. The man was listed as someone who needed emergency hip replacement surgery. But he was merrily driving around on a scooty.

“How can a person who needs emergency hip replacement drive a two-wheeler? The hospital had claimed Rs 90,000 for the surgery which was declined by us,” said Abhishek Tripathi, director, Atal Ayushman Yojana (Uttarakhand).

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The Economic Times, 10 August, 2019, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/under-ayushman-bharat-hospitals-use-bizarre-ways-to-siphon-off-funds/articleshow/706175

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