The corporation has planned to invest Rs 8.5 crore this year to upgrade 14 of its hospitals and set up one.
ESIC has planned to set up a 100-bed hospital in Haldia with an investment of Rs 6.5 crore. The construction work is scheduled to begin next year. The project is likely to be operational by 2009.
"We are in talks with private hospitals for a public-private partnership to utilise the unused capacity of hospitals," said BK Sahu, additional commissioner and regional director of the ESIC ( West Bengal ).
ESIC hospitals in the state have 3,777 beds, of which 70-75% is occupied. Ideal occupancy is 80-85%.
ESI hospitals treated 6,000 patients with cardiac disorders in 2006. It also conducted 500 bypass surgeries and fitted 786 pacemakers.
The ESI scheme was first implemented in Kolkata and Howrah in 1955.
"We are doing everything possible to bring down misuse of the cash benefit," Sahu said. He was present at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
West Bengal , with at least 7.5 lakh families or almost 28 lakh persons insured by the ESIC, has 8% of persons insured in the country. The cash benefit extended to those insured was about 43% of total cash credit extended by the corporation.
"We have reduced misuse of cash credit by Rs 25 crore in the last 18 months, bringing down the total cash credit extended by 17%," he said.