Even as Punjab continues its drive to combat cancer — a mega screening camp for the disease was launched in all districts on Saturday — patients continue to face a grim scenario due to delay in receiving funds and “under-valuation” of treatment cost.
Not only is Rs 1.50 lakh, which a cancer patient is
entitled to under the Mukhyamantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh Scheme, too little for treatment in private hospitals, affected families have found that getting the funds is a herculean task that quickly morphs into harassment.
Surinder Pal, a resident of Mullanpur in Ludhiana district, says his family is still waiting for funds that were sanctioned in Chandigarh about seven months ago to treat his sister-in-law Raj Rani, who was operated for breast cancer at Ludhiana Mediways (earlier known as Ludhiana Mediciti).
“Our doctor prepared an estimate of Rs 2.5 lakh, of which the government sanctioned Rs 1.05 lakh and we got the confirmation letter as well. Initially we were told that the funds would be reimbursed at the time of surgery but nothing came. The surgery was conducted in March and we somehow paid the amount after taking loans from friends and relatives. Later we were told that funds will arrive when chemotherapy sessions start and now even that is over and we have not received a penny,” Pal told The Indian Express.
“It’s been seven months since the surgery and now whenever we visit the hospital to know if there has been any progress, they say that no funds have arrived in our name. This is simply mockery of cancer patients,” he added.
The family had twice sent the bills to Chandigarh for reimbursement but they were returned. Now have sent it to the capital for the third time.
“The cost of surgery in Mediways was Rs 40,000 but we have been told that we will be given only Rs 2,000 as per rates of surgery in PGI, Chandigarh. We have already paid Rs 40,000 from our pocket. Now what do we do with the Rs 2,000?” said Pal.
Ludhiana Mediways was expelled from the