Mumbai: A committee has been constituted by the state public health department to ensure there is surveillance over charity beds reserved in 430 trust hospitals across Maharashtra. The committee will also conduct a quarterly audit of expenditure of the indigent patients’ funds (IPF) by the hospitals. Additionally, another committee will inspect the medical documents and bills of patients from weaker sections of society.
This comes 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.
Rule of mandatory periodical reports
“Earlier, it was mandatory for the administration of charitable trust hospitals to send periodical reports of the number of beds for both native and indigent patients. Most of the time, the reports were not sent,” said an official.
Currently, there are 74 trust hospitals in the city, such as Lilavati, Jaslok, Nanavati, Bombay Hospital, HN Reliance and others, who get several concessions from the government to reserve 20% beds for poor patients. Among these beds, 10% are allotted at 50% discount, while the remaining 10% are free of charge for patients below poverty line (BPL).
Health activists and experts said the move was much needed. They said it’s important to implement such rules as rural regions lack healthcare facilities due to which patients come to Mumbai and Pune for treatment. However, patients are fooled by trust-run hospitals that do not guide or provide proper details of hospital beds reserved for them and violate the rules.
“Not everyone can afford treatment at private hospitals due to which beds were made reserved in these hospitals at concessional rates. The government and charity commission need to intervene and ensure strict implementation of rules if they want the benefits to reach native patients,” said health activist Abhijit More.