The state government has ordered private hospitals to accept cheques from patients in case of emergencies. The hospitals can face action if the patients are denied treatment for want of cash.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, after a high-level meeting with officials from the health department, said that the government has been keeping a close eye on the situation in private hospitals. The government has issued directives to all private hospitals to accept cheques from those being admitted in emergencies. The government has also taken the guarantee of up to Rs10,000 each for bounced cheques and said the amount will be refunded from the chief minister’s relief fund.
“Officials of the health department are keeping a close watch on the situation. The patients can phone our helpline 108 in case of non co-operation from the hospitals. The patients and their relatives should also phone us with the phone/mobile numbers of the officials of the hospital concerned so that immediate intervention is extended,” Fadnavis tweeted on Sunday evening.
The steps were taken after an infant died after a private hospital in Govandi allegedly refused to admit the infant as the parents failed to produce low-denomination currency notes. After the central government denied permission to Maharashtra government to extend the facility of accepting the demonitised notes till midnight of November 14, the hospitals have stopped accepting them since November 11.
“The directives are only for emergencies in which the patient’s life is in danger. The surgeries and treatments, which can wait are not covered under these directives. We have put 108 and 104 helplines operational for the benefit of the patients. Our top-level officials will coordinate with hospital administration if the need be to ensure that no patient in private hospital is left unattended,” said Satish Pawar, director of health services.
About the action on the errant hospitals, Pawar, said, “It is implied and reinforced time and again by the Supreme Court that no critical patient be refused treatment for not having money. We have initiated action against the Govandi hospital for refusing to admit the patient and also may also ask the Maharashtra Medical Council for the cancellation of the registration of the doctor concerned. If the need be, action will also be taken against the hospital under the Maharashtra Nursing Home Registration Act,” he added.