1. I have been reading a number of E-mails and have come across numerous cases where ECHS beneficiaries are facing difficulties because they are not aware of the procedures laid down for treatment in ECHS empanelled hospitals. May I request you to pass this information on to as many of our veterans to prevent inconvenience to them when they need treatment through ECHS.
2. The guiding principles are as under:-
(a) In case of an ailment and a beneficiary requires any treatment, both OPD or IPD, report to the nearest ECHS Polyclinic.
(b) As far as possible, avail treatment in an ECHS empanelled hospital as it ensures cashless treatment (???? Not the entire truth), thus avoiding financial burden on the veteran.
(c) Wherever possible, proceed to the empanelled hospital only once the OIC Polyclinic has spoken to the empanelled hospital concerned and obtained a confirmation that a bed is available if admission is required.
(d) If the empanelled hospital demands any cash from the beneficiary, bring it to the notice of the OIC Polyclinic and the undersigned, so that necessary action can be taken to resolve it immediately.
(e) If the beneficiary wants any planned treatment to be carried out in a non- empanelled hospital for any reason, then the following needs to be obtained before the treatment commences:-
(i) Diagnosis of the treating doctor with an estimate of the cost of treatment.
(ii) Approval of the service specialist.
(iii) Approval of MD, ECHS.
(f) However, in case of an emergency, an ECHS beneficiary can go to any hospital and get treated. The nearest Polyclinic should be informed within 48 (working) hours so that the necessary Emergency Information Report can be raised. Conditions that can be considered as emergency have already been elaborated in the ECHS policy letters uploaded on our website. If it is a empanelled hospital the hospital should be informing the Oi/c and in ost cases this can be done on line and approval obtained.
3. I do agree that non-availability of medicines has been a problem in ECHS. ECHS has to obtain all its medicines through the Armed Forces Medical Services and despite our best efforts, there are delays as AFMSDs and SEMOs of MHs have to follow the Defence Procurement procedures for procurement of medicines. The proposal for a pilot project on outsourcing of pharmacy operations of ECHS has not been sanctioned as yet. However, whatever funds are required by the Armed Forces Medical Services for provision of medicines to ECHS Polyclinics are being provided by Central Org, ECHS to the office of DG AFMS. Concerted efforts are being made to improve the compliance level of supply of medicines. I feel this is not going to be resolved and ECHS must think of allowing LP by veteran and reimbursement to Pharmacist on panel particularly in Remote areas and areas where there is no polyclinic.
4. Some of the other benefits that have been recently granted to ECHS beneficiaries are as under:-
(a) Travel by air in case of an emergency, if no other mode of transport exists.
(b) (b)Reimbursement of ambulance charges.
5. Some of the other highlights are as under:-
(a) Over 120 new polyclinics have been sensationalized over the last year and a half and most of these are in remote areas.What is the definition of Remote Areas? Gadag has no polyclinic and the nearest is about 70 Kms away nor does it have a hospital on panel nor is it declared a remote area so how do these so called remote area clinic help?
(b) Revised scales of equipment for ECHS polyclinics has been issued by the Govt and the office of DG AFMS has been approached to procure the same at the earliest
(c) All polyclinics have been sanctioned a generator each so that equipment like Dental Chairs can function even when there is no power supply.
(d) 10 Regional Centres have already gone on-line for bill processing. This has speeded up the processing of empanelled hospital bills as also brought in transparency. Sorry Pune has not benefited and hospitals are still complaining of non-payment. Large amounts are held up for minor one or two queries.
(e) 117 hospitals have been empanelled in the last one year with ECHS. Special attention is being given to Mumbai and Coimbatore so that we can have some hospitals empanelled at both these stations. As per website as on Feb 2015 550+ hospitals applications are pending for approval. Some as old as 4 years.
6. May I also request our veterans not to spread false propaganda like the one on a maximum ceiling of Rs 25,000/- for treatment in ECHS. There is no truth in this.
7. The health of the veterans is the concern of ECHS and so long as I am its MD, it will be my ensure health to each one personally. Please do make my mobile No 8527794678 known to everybody, Sir. It will also be nice if the veterans can mention their mobile No whenever they send a mail so that I can personally speak to them and redress their grievances.