Kerala health department cites post-dated order to deny reimbursement to cancer victim’s family

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Deceased Anitha-Order denying reimbursement

Idukki: CC Joy of Karimkunnam in Idukki is irked over the bizarre rationale of the department officials to deny reimbursement for his wife's cancer treatment.

Joy’s wife Anitha Lukose passed away 5 years back yet the reimbursement of expenses is still pending. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan had famously made ‘each file is a life’ speech on his first visit to the secretariat during his first regime. However, bureaucratic officials seem to deviate from the spirit, even during the second regime.

Anitha was detected with cancer in 2014. She underwent various treatment within Kerala and neighbouring states. Joy was a health department official at that time. He had applied for government reimbursement scheme for employees and family. He received Rs 1.53 lakh in the first phase. Later, he submitted the bills for his wife’s treatment but the reimbursements did not come. This was despite the communication of the district medical office and health department sanctioning the reimbursement.

Anitha died in 2017 and Joy retired from service in 2021. The reimbursements were not approved at that junctures too. In July 2022, health department under secretary intimated the directorate that reimbursement cannot be sanctioned citing finance department’s order in 2020. As per the 2020 order, the hospital in which Anitha underwent treatment, was not listed under reimbursement provision. While those hospitals were part of the list during 2017. According to Joy, authorities concerned put this reality under the rug to deny reimbursement. Joy moved an appeal with health minister.

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