Controversy Erupts as Covid-19 Hospital in MP's Bhopal Denies Ayushman Benefits to Patient

·3-min read

After a huge outcry, the Ayushman Bharat Madhya Pradesh office served a show-cause notice to Chirayu Hospital in Bhopal on Monday in connection with a denial of Ayushman card benefits to a Covid-19 patient who later died during the treatment.

The incident had hogged the limelight in the city on Sunday when a resident had released two videos on social media.

In one of the videos, DIG bungalow resident Yogesh Balwani claimed that his mother Rukmani Balwani, 63, was admitted to the Chirayu Hospital on April 19 for the Covid-19 treatment and he deposited Rs 2.5 lakh subsequently with the hospital.

After the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government announced the treatment of Covid-19 patient under the Ayushman scheme and listed the Chirayu Hospital in the same on May 7, Balwani was making rounds at the hospital billing counter and other departments to ensure treatment benefits to mother under the scheme.

His mother despite having an Ayushman scheme beneficiary card wasn't extended scheme benefits and none in the hospital offered a convincing reply.

Claiming that he on Friday night met hospital manager Gaurav Bajaj, Balwani issued another video in which he is enquiring about the Ayushman scheme benefit for his mother but Bajaj rudely replies that they are not offering any benefits and the hospital was answerable to the government and not him. After Balwani insisted on a logical reply, Bajaj asked his men to throw him out.

Later he also spoke to the Chirayu Hospital MD Dr Ajay Goenka. "The man also rudely said that he won't extend Ayushman benefits and I can complain to anyone in MP or New Delhi," claimed Balwani.

The man said that his mother had died on Saturday evening but the hospital declined to hand over the body and demanded Rs 3 lakh as the pending payment. On Sunday, they offered the body after many pleas and promises of payment later. "Soon after I cremated my mother, I started getting payment calls from the hospital who warned of legal action in case of non-payment," said Balwani.

As the controversy snowballed, Chirayu Hospital Managing Director Dr Ajay Goenka issued a video statement on Sunday claiming that the man in question had issued a partial video. "The woman in question was admitted in the hospital since April 19 and the Ayushman treatment order was issued on May 7. Since then, we have started extending treatment benefits to eligible patients. I am issuing a disclaimer on the video."

However, the social media anguish did not ebb as people sought action on the hospital saying it was challenging the government orders.

On Monday, Home Minister Narottam Mishra speaking to the media on the incident said, "Owner of the hospital has rejected the allegation so nothing left to say," said the minister calling the hospital a reputed institution that is treating people from across the State.

Meanwhile, S Viswanathan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ayushman Bharat MP, 'Niramayam', issued a show-cause notice to the hospital spelling out scheme provisions including reservation of 20 per cent beds so that none is denied admission. Seeking a detailed reply on the said incident, the officer warned the hospital of action in case of non-reply.

In yet another incident, a man who identified as Yogendra Singh Raghuwanshi, a native of Vidisha, released a video on Monday claiming that he had approached the Chirayu Hospital with ailing grandmother Sajjubai last Friday but the hospital denied admission despite the woman having an Ayushman yojana card. The hospital and administration did not react to his allegations. Krishna Ghatge, a loyalist of Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia claimed that the MP has intervened and spoke to the hospital and Health Minister Prabhuram Chaudhary and ensured that the woman will be admitted to the said hospital under the scheme. Mahendra, Yogendra's elder brother speaking to News18 over the phone, claimed that he got calls from MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and Health Minister Dr Prabhuram Chaudhary who took the details and extended help. "I am approaching the hospital for admitting grandmother," claimed Mahendra.

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