30 health clinics in East Champaran face action for performing illegal hysterectomies

District authorities suspend their registration under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana; raids revealed some nursing homes had engaged unqualified doctors to save costs

By Alok Gupta
Published: Saturday 11 May 2013

The role of private clinics empanelled under the state health insurance scheme, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), in Bihar is under the scanner following large number of complaints. Many clinics have been accused of performing illegal hysterectomies on poor patients to avail the benefit from the insurance scheme.

The East Champaran district administration has unearthed major lapses in the non-fulfillment of empanelment conditions specified under RSBY. The authorities have suspended empanelment registration of 30 private nursing homes following raids.

Action was taken after complaints of 65 minor and young women who said their uterus was removed without consent. Saroj Singh, civil surgeon at Motihari, the district headquarters of East Champaran, said that apart from complaints of illegal hysterectomy, there were several complaints of improper treatment.
No OTs or linkage to diagnostic centres

The raiding team of the district administration and civil surgeon were shocked to find that some of the private nursing homes had employed homeopathic doctors or medical practitioners with dubious qualifications. In six nursing homes there was no operation theatre and a majority of them had no linkage with diagnostic centres.

District magistrate of East Champaran, Vinay Kumar, said that a large number of patients had submitted complaints on incomplete treatment by these 30 private nursing clinics. These clinics had either removed qualified doctors or done away with operation theatres in a bid to cut running cost.

“During empanelment process, these clinics had arranged all equipments and qualified doctors. But within no time, they removed majority of the medical services that are required for empanelment,” Kumar said.

There are 71 private nursing homes empanelled under RSBY in the district. After raids, nearly half of them are on verge of closure. The district administration has issued show cause notices to the proprietors of nursing homes.

Different districts, same problem

Last year, the Samastipur district magistrate had raided 34 private clinics in the district and had unearthed scores of cases in which fake surgeries were performed to remove uterus of males.
In Bihar, a section of district magistrates have taken a strong stand against corruption in implementing RSBY. Vinay Kumar during his tenure in Chapra district had lodged FIR against three private clinics for performing fake hysterectomy on minor girls.

The Central government sponsored health scheme ran into problems after private insurer ICICI Lombard submitted a detailed report to the Bihar government, apprising it of the high number of hysterectomy procedures being performed by private clinics.

The beneficiary under RSBY avails an annual health cover of Rs 30,000 for his or her family by paying a fee of Rs 30. The beneficiaries can approach either a public or private healthcare provider on RSBY’s panel.
The issue also rocked the state Assembly last year.

Is RSBY India’s platform to implementing universal hospital insurance?

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