Mumbai: The state government has set up district-level committees and formed a special cell to monitor the implementation of the Indigent Patients Fund (IPF) scheme and ensure that poor patients receive subsidised treatment.
This comes against the backdrop of senior government officials saying that they had received several complaints from patients about the inconvenience faced in availing the benefits of the scheme.
There is a lack of transparency in the running of the scheme by charitable hospitals across the state, according to government officials.
“The new committees and cell aim to address the complaints and inconveniences faced by patients in availing the scheme’s benefits. This initiative will be crucial in helping economically weaker sections access medical treatment at charitable hospitals,” said a senior government official.
The district-level committees will be headed by the respective district collectors and will have elected members, a joint charity commissioner, a dean of a medical college, and a civil surgeon.
Details On Charitable Hospitals
There are 58 charitable hospitals in Pune and 74 in Mumbai, as well as several others in the rest of the state. These hospitals get FSI, concessions in water, power, power, customs, sales, and income taxes and are obliged to provide free and discounted treatment to needy patients under the IPF scheme. “The state cell will monitor and help eligible patients get beds in the charitable hospitals. We will also monitor real-time bed occupancy and effective implementation of the IPF scheme,” said an official.
In July this year, a committee was constituted by the state public health department to ensure there is surveillance over charity beds reserved in the trust hospitals across Maharashtra. The committee was also directed to conduct a quarterly audit of expenditure of IPF by the hospitals. Another committee was tasked to inspect the medical documents and bills of patients from weaker sections of society.
These steps were taken after after innumerable complaints to the charity commission and the public health department over patients not getting beds reserved for them in charitable hospitals. The affected patients had sought intervention and strict surveillance.
All charitable hospitals have to, according to the government order, reserve 20 per cent of their beds for poor patients. Of these, 10% are allotted at 50% discount, while the remaining are free of charge for patients below poverty line.