New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan recently praised the work done under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship healthcare scheme -- Ayushman Bharat -- in the past one year. But, for Matloob Hussain’s family in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district, such claims sound hollow and hurtful. The family had to run from pillar to post to get Hussain, 59, treated, but despite holding an Ayushman Bharat card, four private hospitals refused to treat him. Hussain died on September 24 in the premises of one of the hospitals.
Hussain had been suffering from fever and chest pain since the past few days. His family says they tried to get treated under the scheme but he was denied admission by four private hospitals of the city, despite being an Ayushman Bharat cardholder. He died when his family left the fourth hospital after rejection, according to a report in the Times of India.
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An inconsolable Nazia Khan, daughter of Matloob Hussain, told Newsclick: "My father died on Tuesday late night after four hospitals we visited denied him treatment, citing absurd reasons. Eight days earlier, he complained of fever and chest pain and took medicine from the nearest doctor. The same night, his health condition started deteriorating. We rushed to Clara Swain Mission Hospital, but the staff rejected us by saying they do not treat patients under Ayushman Bharat scheme. We were asked to go somewhere else because the doctors were on leave. We then went to Khushlok Hospital and rushed him to the emergency ward. The hospital staff saw my father and asked us to pay Rs 15,000 at the reception. When we showed our Ayushman card, we were told to leave the hospital immediately as the hospital claimed it didn’t have a vacant bed in the intensive care unit (ICU). When we asked them that start treating my father, and we will pay the amount, they again said that no bed was not available. By this time, my father’s health was getting worse, but they didn't care about his life."
Nazia said after being denied treatment in two hospitals, they called Ayushman Bharat's toll-free number and asked for help, but the customer care executive said the complaint had been registered. When we told the person on the line that our father was in a critical condition, he told that our issue would be sorted in two hours. “When we told him that two hours would be too late, he asked us to take our father to Saran Hospital, which comes under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). We took an ambulance and reached the third hospital. In Saran, the doctor did a check-up and put him on oxygen while he was lying on the stretcher. The doctor admitted that my father was in a critical condition and said he should be shifted to the ICU. Again, when we showed our Ayushman card, the doctor’s tone changed, and we were told that this hospital doesn't come under Ayushman Bharat.”
Nazia said what was ironic was that when they entered the hospital, a poster at the hospital’s gate said that it was covered under the scheme. “When we asked them why they were denying that the hospital comes under PMJAY, the doctor said that it was “still in the process” and suggested we go to another hospital named Ram Murti Hospital which comes fully under PMJAY.”
The family’s ordeal did not end there. With the condition of Matloob worsening, they then rushed to Ram Murti Hospital. “There we paid Rs 850 for an admission slip. They spent more than two hours to prepare a file and asked us to deposit Rs 15,000. When we showed them our Ayushman card, we were informed that this hospital, too, doesn't come under the scheme at night and were rudely told that my father’s treatment could be started only when we deposit the money," said Nazia.
"The hospital authorities said Rs 50,000 will be the cost for my father's treatment. That’s when my brother started crying because my father had stopped breathing. He left us because of hospital negligence. What is the benefit of this card now when no hospital accepts this card," added Nazia.
WHAT IS AYUSHMAN BHARAT SCHEME
Last year, the Narendra Modi-led central government launched the Ayushman Bharat Scheme claiming that it was the largest health insurance scheme in the world. Ayushman Bharat Yojana (scheme) is also known as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), and is a health insurance scheme for the poor of the country. Under the scheme, 10 crore families in the country are to get health insurance of Rs 5 lakh annually.
Newsclick had carried a story based on data available on Uttar Pradesh Assembly’s official website. According to the data, the performance of Ayushman Bharat in Uttar Pradesh is poor. Several patients are being denied treatment. One such case was reported from Agra where a patient had also died allegedly due to delay in treatment.