The West Bengal cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to set up a committee of senior government officials to chalk out ‘flexible’ rates for various treatments at private hospitals and nursing homes, under the state-run ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme.

She said that the rates should be fixed, keeping in mind the interest of both hospitals and patients.

‘As the scheme has now reached 10 crore people, the rate should also be changed. It should be flexible, and fixed in such a way that the nursing homes can bear the treatment and patients, too, do not face any problem. To maintain parity, we will come up with a new rate chart.

‘We have formed a committee with chief secretary, home secretary and health secretary as members to look into the matter,’ Banerjee said after Thursday’s cabinet meeting.

The chief minister also urged all hospitals and nursing homes to ‘necessarily’ enrol themselves for the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme.

‘I will request all the private hospitals and nursing homes to give priority to this… We must not forget that besides doing business, we also have some social responsibilities,’ she said.

The feisty TMC supremo said that the state government has to bear an extra annual expense of Rs 2,500 crore for doling out benefits under the health scheme.

Echoing her, Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay told reporters at the state secretariat that the cabinet has taken an ‘on-principal decision to ensure that funds are available to bear the treatment cost of any number of patients. Some nursing homes and hospitals have reached out to us, seeking a revision in the rates of packages’.

The bureaucrat said that the committee will review the matter and try to work on a solution so that ‘Swasthya Sathi becomes win-win’ for all.

With more and more people enrolling themselves for the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme at the state-initiated ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorsteps) drive, private hospitals and nursing homes have urged the government to review the rates.

Authorities of these medical establishments and senior officials of the state health department recently held a meeting in this connection.

As many as 75.83 lakh people in the state have received Swasthya Sathi cards till Wednesday.

Under the scheme, each family is entitled to health coverage of Rs 5 lakh every year.