GUWAHATI, April 15 - More than one lakh beneficiaries of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) are being provided health services in all seven states of the Northeast through 23 polyclinics under the aegis of the Regional Centre, ECHS, Guwahati, through various schemes.
As of now, telephonic communication has been established with approximately 5,000 ECHS beneficiaries by the regional centre and polyclinic staff, enquiring about their health and treatment-related issues, a defence spokesman said.
The spokesman said that due to the COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions like lockdown, curfew, etc, imposed thereafter, ECHS beneficiaries have not been able to reach respective polyclinics for availing treatment. The problems of ex-servicemen are enhanced particularly for those who are suffering from chronic diseases and require continuous medical attention. He said that in these challenging times, all ECHS polyclinics, spread across the northeastern states, have been doing exemplary work under the aegis of the regional centre.
Certain polyclinics have also engaged their personnel to deliver medicines to ECHS patients (especially octogenarians suffering from various critical diseases who always depend on medical care) at their doorstep after seeking telemedicine consultation by the respective medical officers of the polyclinics. Besides this, regular supply of medicines is also being ensured to assist the ex-servicemen.
Apart from this, certain relaxation in rules for ECHS beneficiaries have also been made by the ECHS authorities to enhance health benefits to the ex-servicemen. Now, to implement social distancing and avoid unnecessary exposure, referral from a policlinic or a service hospital for ex-servicemen to go to any hospital, in case of emergency, will not be mandatory. However, tele-information to polyclinics by the ex-servicemen will still be required.
Further, relaxation up to April 30, 2020, has been issued to the veterans having lifestyle diseases to purchase medicines for an entire month from any pharmacy, based on the existing prescription of any ECHS polyclinic, service or empanelled hospital. The claims for the same can be submitted after May 15. In this regard, the non-availability certificate, which used to be required before, would not be required till April 30. Also, follow-up of periodic treatment for all chronic ailments, like chemo/radiotherapy, dialysis, etc, may be availed at empanelled hospitals in emergency cases without any referral from a polyclinic.
�This is bound to reduce movement of ex-servicemen and protect them from COVID signatures. Moreover, ex-servicemen have been instructed to report immediately if any symptoms of COVID-19 are suspected.� In such a situation, quarantine facilities are to be utilised at service hospitals/government hospitals, he said, adding confirmed cases will be treated at government-notified hospitals.