Maharashtra law to regulate hospitals doesn’t give patients right to ask for itemised bill

It also doesn’t give them the right to claim the dead body of their kin without paying hospital dues

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2018 00:26 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,deepak sawant,clinical establishments bill
A major aim behind the act was to bring in private and trust-run hospitals under the ambit of the state government in terms of unethical practices.(Representational image/Shutterstock)

The law to regulate rates charged by medical establishments across the state has refused to give the right of the patient to ask for an itemised bill and claim the dead body of their kin without paying hospital dues.

Two health activists of Maharashtra, who were representing patients’ rights in the committee for drafting Clinical Establishment Bill, 2017, alleged that their expectation of the bill standing for general public are diminished after a number of suggestions made by them were rejected while making the final draft. The final decision over the bill draft will be taken on February 27.

In the winter assembly session of December 2017, Maharashtra health minister Dr Deepak Sawant promised to bring in a law to ensure affordable care as preamble of the draft bill. A major aim behind the act was to bring in private and trust-run hospitals under the ambit of the state government in terms of unethical practices, mostly related to exorbitant bill amounts and practices of recovery of the bill.

A 15 -member committee, headed by Dr Mohan Jadhav, deputy director, Directorate of Health Services, was appointed to draft the bill.

“Many key provisions for patients suggested by Jan Arogya Abhiyan, a conglomerate of health activists and NGOs in the state, are excluded by the feedback committee. Moreover, the committee has only two representatives voicing patient’s rights and 12 members from private practitioners and hospital owners, hugely affecting the functionability of the bill drafting committee,” said Dr Abhijit More, convener of Jan Aarogya Abhiyan and a member of the committee.

More and Dr Abhay Anant Phadke, convener of Jan Swathya Abhiyan, had suggested the display of patients charter and responsibilities at prominent places of all clinical establishments, display of hospitals rates on their websites and across the clinical establishments and penalty for denial of giving photocopies of clinical records to the concerned patients, amongst other demands. None of them are a part of the final draft of the bill.

“We know being a member of the committee, we aren’t supposed to speak regarding the matters when the bill is yet to be framed. But eventually we are demanding basic patient rights and none of the committee members, due to vested interests or political pressures, are ready to consider these simple demands,” said Dr Phadke.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 00:26 IST