Now, Maha medical bill draws activists’ wrath

The law to regulate rates charged by medical establishments across the state doesn’t allow patients to ask for itemised bill , The activists have taken a dig at the state-constituted committee for dropping the provisions meant for safeguarding the patients’ rights.

Mumbai : Exclusion of a number of key provisions from the draft of Maharashtra Clinical Establishment Bill have not gone down well with several health activists. The provisions included a display of charter of a patient’s rights such as getting itemised bills, and responsibilities at a prominent place on hospital premises.

The activists said the law to regulate rates charged by medical establishments across the state has refused to give the right of the patient to ask for an itemised bill and claim dead body of their kin without paying hospital dues.

“Health activists who were representing patients’ rights for drafting Clinical Establishment Bill, 2017 alleged that their expectation of the bill standing for general public are diminished after a number of suggestions made by them were rejected while making the final draft. The final decision over the bill draft will be taken on March 6,” added Abhijeet More, convener of Jan Arogya Abhiyan

The bill aims at regulating healthcare service rates by private hospitals across the state. The activists have taken a dig at the state-constituted committee for dropping the provisions meant for safeguarding the patients’ rights.

In the last winter session of the Assembly in December 2017, health minister Deepak Sawant had pledged to bring in a law to curb “unjustified profiteering” by hospitals. Accordingly, Jan Arogya Abhiyan, a network of Non Governmental Organisations working in the field of health, proposed the inclusion of the word “affordable care” in the preamble of the draft bill.

“A private hospital in Mumbai was recently found charging huge amount of money for hundreds of gloves not possible to utilize by any stretch of logic. It was also reported that hospital had charged food bill for a patient on a ventilator,” said More.

Dr Abhay Anant Phadke, convener of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, had also suggested the display of patients charter and responsibilities at prominent places of all clinical establishments, display of hospitals rates on their website and across the clinical establishments and penalty for denial of giving photocopies of clinical records to the concerned patients, amongst other demands.

The activists also wanted the state government to come up with a website with detailed information about registered hospitals, laboratories, their facilities and services and the charges. “Citizens should be able to compare this information at a single click,” added More.

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 was enacted by Central govt to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them.

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