Hyderabad: The Centre is attaching military and railway hospitals across India to the list of medical service centres for beneficiaries of Modicare, the health insurance scheme. This has not gone down well with a section of the armed forces.
Military hospitals are primarily for families of serving and retired military personnel. Already facing a dearth of medical specialists and equipment, these hospitals will be under additional pressure. Instead, the central government should strengthen civilian medical centres, say members of the defence forces.
Military hospital is located in Secunderabad (AOC) and Langer House. The state has railway hospitals in Hyderabad, Kazipet, Dornakal, Bhadrachalam road, Ramagundam, and Bellampalli.
The National Health Agency, which is responsible for the implementation of the health insurance or Ayushman Bharat scheme, is trying to expand the network of hospitals by empanelling those in the government sector that have spare capacity.
The chief of Ayushman Bharat confirmed on November 2 that talks had been initiated with the railway and defence ministries, ESIC and the department of public sector enterprises to empanel hospitals across the country. This is being done to enhance the capacity as well as give more choice to beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat across the country.
Military historian Mandeep Singh Bajwa was critical of the move to empanel military hospitals. He said the administrative staff of military hospitals across the nation is much reduced and technical facilities are underdeveloped.
With the empanelment of military hospital for the Modicare scheme, an additional burden will fall on them, he said.
Major Subhas Singh (retired), said, "The government initiated the ECHS (Ex Servicemen's Contributory Health Scheme) to lessen the load on heavily overburdened military hospitals. Now, the government is adding additional burden by putting more load on the hospitals."