Arogya Mitra (friends of health) will be deployed as facilitators at charitable hospitals across Maharashtra to ensure people from economically weaker sections can avail of subsidised treatment facilities.
This comes after the charity commissioner and state health department received several complaints about exorbitant charges even at charitable hospitals.
An official said, “State health minister Tanaji Sawant and charity commissioner discussed complaints of inadequate healthcare services. Currently, there are more than 400 such hospitals in the state, of which all leading private hospitals come under the jurisdiction of the charity commissioner.”
Charitable hospitals are legally obligated to earmark 10% of the total number of operational beds for indigent patients and provide medical treatment free of cost, and reserve 10% of beds at a concessional rate to economically weaker sections of society.
467 Arogya Mitras to be recruited
Director of health services Dr Nitin Ambadekar said they are planning to recruit 467 Arogya Mitras for which proposals are ready to be finalised.
“These professionals will serve as a liaison between patients and the hospital administration, presenting any issues or complaints from patients for prompt resolution. Moreover, they will also be looking for all necessary documents required to avail treatment at a subsidised rate,” he said. A mobile application and a website will be developed for the recruitment.
Patients have to follow specific terms and conditions to get the benefit. The annual income limit for poor patients is ₹85,000. Similarly, the annual income limit for patients from weaker sections has been set at ₹1.8 lakh.