Monday, May 21, 2012

RSBY Medical Camp . . .

Couple of weeks back, I was informed about the program of holding a medical camp in Satbarwa by RSBY. I had been quite vary of medical camps since I had been part of quite a lot of them. They are quite good for bringing in publicity. From a public health point of view, I'm not sure of how useful they are except for a chance for screening populations for chronic diseases like hypertension or diabetes. 

On asking the concerned staff on what the objectives are - I was informed that it is basically to screen patients for elective surgeries. I was not much impressed. However, did not want to discourage the RSBY staff. And it was first one I was doing in the name of RSBY and also after I came back after my post-grad. And I thought of giving it a good try - with all inputs from the hospital put in. The Community Health Department made quite an effort.

Following are the snaps from the camp. We got quite a lot of patients - totalled about 150. We had 3 doctors at the place including Dr Isac Jebaraj, an orthopedic consultant from the Christian Medical College, Vellore who was visiting us along with a batch of 2nd year Medical Students.

Getting the place ready
The ophthalmology team


Everybody . . .

Drs. Isac Jebaraj (white shirt), Nandamani (blue shirt) and Titus (yellow shirt)
Lessons learnt at the end - 

1. Medical camps are a waste of time especially for hospitals like us which have quite a regular crowd.  At least when they are arranged like this without much of a targeted approach. Lately, I realized that even hospitals such as Apollo has dropped their camp approach for valvular heart diseases.

2. Providing constant and regular service is more important in healthcare rather than mass efforts such as medical camps. 

3. We never got any surgical patients. Most the patients were those with backaches and vague complaints. Like most medical camps I've been to, most of the patients appeared to have come because there was a doctor available for free consultations and some free medicines.

Well, this post would not be complete without the mention of some small drama that happened. We had been told about the camp for almost a week. The venue was all decided and we were given the responsibility of publicity, which we did quite well. However, on the day before the camp, I received a phone call from the RSBY DPM saying that they were thinking of changing the venue. 

The venue surprised us - a newly opened private hospital about 1 km beyond Satbarwa. It was outrageous. I wondered what they were up to. I expressed our unwillingness to go and sit at a private hospital. I told them that I would not have any problem having the camp in the local government subcentre or the new primary health centre almost nearing construction. 

After being stubborn about this, they finally relented and agreed for the original venue.

Well, for a status update, since we were empaneled (March 2012), we've already treated 100 odd patients as in-patients and 570 patients in out-patients under the scheme. And do remember, we must be one of the very few hospitals in Jharkhand who does not charge registration and consultation fees for outpatient care for RSBY card-holders.

The challenge remains payments from the insurance provider - so far we've only received about 120,000 INR out of the 250,000 claimed (only claims submitted 21 days back) . . .  We hope that payments would be a bit more fast . . .We're already making extra investments for the poor - but payback is becoming tough. Do remember the 50,000 INR we lost because of free outpatient registration and consultation. And expenses for medical camps such as the one I described . . .And all these in a space of not even 3 months . . .

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