PIC resumes free health services

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) has resumed its provision of free health services.

According to reports, this comes after the institute received government assurances regarding the settlement of unpaid dues and the revision of rates for heart-related procedures under the Sehat Card Plus program.

Earlier, PIC had temporarily halted free patient treatment due to unpaid dues amounting to Rs1.2 billion. Additionally, the institute sought an increase in procedure rates to align with the depreciation of the local currency, which had caused an increase in the costs of imported medical supplies.

See: Non- payment: PIC halts operations on Sehat Card

PIC CEO Dr Syed Shahkar Ahmed Shah said he was grateful to the health department for addressing the issue of pending dues with the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC). Without this resolution, PIC’s ability to provide cardiac care services was at risk due to shortages of disposables.

SLIC oversees the government’s free treatment program and has more than 1,100 empaneled hospitals across Pakistan. However, the corporation has faced difficulties in reimbursing hospitals due to financial constraints and low cash flow from the government.

The government is required to pay Rs21 billion to SLIC, but financial challenges have hindered timely payments. The provincial government requested federal support for the free treatment of residents from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas until resources are transferred under the National Finance Commission award.

The Sehat Card Plus program currently covers 9.7 million households and requires Rs28 billion annually. The government is considering limiting fully free healthcare to around 46 per cent of the population, while others would receive services under a co-payment formula.

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