Treat the poor poorly seems to be the message emanating from the pricing strategy formulated by the government under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, says a private sector hospital senior official without wanting to be named. The head honchos of some of the leading hospitals seem willing to work with the government, but are seeking rates that are "at least in line with what is being offered under the CGHS". What is offered instead, they feel, is about 20 per cent less than that under CGHS, and is not viable for many of them.
"We are willing to work with the government and want to cooperate but only hope the government will give us some incentives," says Suneeta Reddy, managing director, Apollo Hospitals.
"All of us have agreed and we want to do the scheme, but the rates should be based on a scientific study that should be undertaken based on the costing for all the hospitals - primary, secondary and tertiary - and based on that the rates could then be fixed. Till such time, the government should offer at least the CGHS rates, it is still low but we will accept it till the study is done," says Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairman and chief executive, Narayana Health.
Ideally, Dr Devi Shetty says, the rates offered "should be little bit more than CGHS" but the numbers should come from the study. At the moment, those in the sector say that the CGHS rates are about 30 per cent less than what tertiary care hospitals, with their high costs, can afford. On the issue of rates being high in Karnataka, those there, do not seem to agree. "The new revised rates in Karnataka are less than what it used to cost in the past and they are significantly lower than the CGHS," says Dr Devi Shetty.
Dr B S Ajaikumar, chairman and CEO, HealthCare Global, focussed on cancer care with is chain of hospitals, says the government is offering a rate that is below their own. The rates should be based on the costing for all hospitals taking into account their cost of real estate, HR cost, maintenance cost and technology cost and will vary from hospital , its location, the technology deployed and the procedure involved. He says, when compared to a tertiary hospital in a Tier 1 city, the rates would be higher than the CGHS rates, and while it would vary, based on the various parameters, it could be 20 to 25 per cent more as opposed to 20 per cent less they are being offered.