State tells Bombay HC it plans to amend norms to prevent hospitals from detaining patientsUpdated: Dec 07, 2019 00:19 IST
The state government on Tuesday told the Bombay high court (HC) that it plans to amend the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Registration Rules, 1973, in order to introduce statutory regulations to prohibit hospitals from detaining patients for pending bills.
Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde submitted to the bench of justices Ranjit More and MS Karnik the draft amendment, which includes several other provisions to regulate nursing homes, such as imposing strict restrictions on hospitals detaining bodies for pending bills or any other reasons, and making it mandatory for hospitals to display rates charged for various kinds of treatments and procedures. “If death of a patient occurs in nursing home, the body should be handed over to the next of the kin after completing necessary medico-legal formalities, if any,” states the draft, adding, “Under no circumstances body should be withheld for non-payment of hospital bill or any other reason.”
The court was hearing two separate petitions related to hospitals detaining patients. One petition was filed by Kurla resident Trevor Britto, 54, who alleged that Prachin Healthcare Multi-specialty Hospital in Panvel refused to discharge an injured bus driver, Chandrakant Pawar, for pending bills. The other petitioner, a Santacruz resident, alleged that Seven Hills Hospital at Marol refused to discharge his brother for not paying disputed dues of ₹1.80 lakh. However, both hospitals have refuted the allegations.
On the request of its counsel, advocate Rui Rodrigues, the bench allowed the Association of Medical Consultants to file its objections and suggestions to the proposed amendments. Several doctors, small and medium hospitals and nursing homes are members of the association. A similar liberty was granted to the petitioners, and the health department was directed to consider their objections and suggestions before finalising the draft.