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Railways Pulls Back Emergency Cashless Treatment Scheme, Prompting Concerns

NEW DELHI (Metro Rail & Steel): The Indian Railways has made the decision to discontinue the Cashless Treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE), a medical initiative that served a substantial number of serving and retired employees, along with their dependent family members throughout the country. 

Initially introduced as a pilot project in major cities back in 2016, the CTSE provided a mechanism for delivering cashless emergency medical treatment in private hospitals empanelled by the Railway network. This facility was later expanded to encompass a wider railway network, facilitating access to emergency medical care for serving and retired employees and their dependents at private hospitals. 

Following a comprehensive review of the scheme’s implementation, the Railway Board opted to withdraw the CTSE effective immediately. Additionally, it was confirmed that no refunds would be issued to CTSE cardholders for their subscription amounts deposited towards the scheme. 

The initial rationale behind introducing the CTSE stemmed from recognizing the challenges faced by numerous retired beneficiaries residing in newly developed suburban areas, often distant from established railway health institutions. In emergency situations, travel to Railway hospitals led to significant time loss. The CTSE aimed to mitigate this issue by enabling access to necessary treatment at empanelled private hospitals, with bills directly routed to the Railways. 

This nationwide scheme eliminated the necessity for referrals from local railway medical authorities, allowing retired employees settled in any part of the country to receive emergency medical attention without restrictions. 

A spokesperson from the Southern Railway clarified that while treatment remains accessible to serving and retired employees and their dependents, it necessitates a referral from a railway medical officer. No reimbursements would be granted for treatments obtained without the referral, be it emergency or otherwise. 

However, in a specific case, retired railway employees aged 75 and above, enrolled under the Retired Employees Liberalised Health Scheme, are being permitted as part of a pilot project to seek out-patient department (OPD) consultations at private hospitals empanelled by the Railways. 

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