About 40 hospitals run by the charitable trusts in Mumbai have been served a show-cause notice by the state government for violating the Bombay Public Trust Act, which compels them to make provisions for poor patients.
Among the requirements for such hospitals are reserving 10% of the beds for below poverty line patients and another 10% that poor patients can avail of at a concessional rate.
Responding to complaints of the gross violation of the provisions in the Act, a committee appointed by chief secretary Jayant Banthia formed 49 teams to inspect the hospitals run by charitable trusts in the city.
These teams comprised representatives from the offices of the charity commissioner, the sales tax department, the civic body and the public health department. They inspected 49 hospitals on January 31 and submitted reports on the violations
“Of the hospitals inspected, 31 did not have the stipulated reservations,” said a senior officer from the public health department. “Some of the hospitals were charging for the laundry, meals and medicines for below poverty line patients.”
The officer said after the inspections, show-cause cause notices were issued to the hospitals last week, and hospitals have been asked to respond.
Banthia, who convened a review meeting after the inspection, told HT that the government would initiate strict action if the hospitals did not toe the line. “If the hospitals continue to violate norms, they may lose their charitable status as they have been warned time and again by the government. This will deprive them of the benefits and concessions they get from the government,” he said.
Banthia said the government wants hospitals to make their efforts to keep up the reservations transparent. “The teams found that no information was available about the availability of the beds, occupancy, expenditure on the treatment and so on. We want hospitals to put up all this information on their websites,” he added.