Private hospitals can’t withhold bodies to recover dues: NMMC

Navi Mumbai: Shocked with instances of some private hospitals, holding back bodies of patients to recover dues during the pandemic, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) issued a circular on Tuesday refraining private hospitals from withholding the body of the patients for non-payment of bills.

It also made it mandatory for all hospitals, both private and charitable, in its jurisdiction to get themselves registered under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojna (MJPJAY). It has also sought updates on the real-time bed occupancy data on the NMMC dashboard, without any discrepancy.

The civic body has cleared its stand that private hospitals cannot run at its whim and fancy as it has to follow the guidelines while carrying out treatment of COVID-19 patients. Now, in case of an unfortunate death of a patient, they shall not withhold or retain the body of the patient. In addition, 80 per cent of beds of all COVID hospitals in NMMC’s jurisdiction will now be regulated by the civic body.

The state government had already issued guidelines for all private hospitals in May 2020 for private hospitals regarding the treatment of COVID patients. However, most of the private or charitable hospitals were not following the guidelines. The civic body was getting complaints regularly from patients.

The purpose of getting registered under the MJPJAY is to make accessible all private hospitals for the poor. The state government bears the cost of treatments of poor patients under MJPJAY.

The civic body will now regulate 80 per cent beds of all COVID hospitals and the charges of these beds will be levied as per the government norms mentioned in the notification issued on May 21. The hospitals will have to display charge details prominently in the main entrance lobby. Even the hospital cannot seek any deposit money at the time of admission of patients. “If any critical patient is referred to the hospital for admission, the patient cannot be deprived of getting admitted on the ground of financial capacity,” said a senior civic official.

The long-time demand from citizens regarding the availability has been addressed. Now, all hospitals will have to update the real-time bed occupancy data on the NMMC dashboard and there should not be any discrepancy shown on the NMMC dashboard and actual vacancy in the hospital.

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