Competition in healthcare sector – Nursing homes losing out to corporate?

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VIJAYAWADA: With the increase in competition in the healthcare sector in the city, some hospitals are tying up with corporate establishments for survival.

There are 355 hospitals in Krishna district, out of which almost 50 per cent are from the city, according to the latest report of the Andhra Pradesh Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (APNA) reports. And, there are 1,100 doctors registered with the Vijayawada chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“Medical care can be classified into three categories, namely, primary, secondary and tertiary. Earlier, there used to be an even distribution of patients across all the categories, including the government general hospital. Of late, the introduction of Aarogyasri scheme or medical insurance schemes, are making people avail of the benefits from hospitals in the corporate sector, as their expenses are covered either by the government or the insurance companies. This has created a void in the primary and secondary level clinics. Therefore, some of these hospitals are resorting to tie-ups with corporate hospitals or diagnostic centres,” said Dr P Srinivas, Krishna district secretary of APNA.

He pointed out that people, who were once unable to afford corporate hospital services, are now going to them as their medical expenses are covered under various schemes.

He said that almost 20 per cent of hospitals in the city are overcrowded, which, in turn, leads to unnecessary and over-usage of resources. “Almost 50 per cent of the total 355 hospitals in the district are located in Vijayawada itself. And, 15-20 per cent of them are overcrowded and the patients are being asked to undergo unnecessary diagnostic tests,” he said.

Dr Srinivas suggested the introduction of a universal health scheme as it would distribute patients to all hospitals. “If there is a comprehensive and universal medical coverage scheme, patients will not run after the corporate establishments. This results in the even distribution of patients, ensuring the survival of primary and secondary establishments.”

Professor at Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences & Research Foundation Dr T Satish Chandra felt that more clinics and medical resources are necessary in the wake of bifurcation.

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