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A prescription for Mumbai

Health Check- The civic body has a roadmap for the overhaul of the city’s health infrastructure. This includes initiatives that range from affordable dialysis to a massive expansion of hospital capacity.

mumbai Updated: Jul 12, 2010 02:50 IST
Hindustan Times

Better healthcare

Mumbai can be assured of better quality healthcare in the coming year as the state government is planning to make it mandatory for all private and public hospitals to get accreditation. Accreditation is given only when hospitals maintain a certain standard and follow guidelines to protect patients against hospital-acquired infections, among other things. The Health Department has set up a committee with senior doctors and administrators from public and private hospitals to chalk out an action plan. “The Maharashtra Medical Council will be entrusted with the duty of accreditation, while the committee will oversee it,” said Health Minister Suresh Shetty.

So far, accreditation wasn’t mandatory but many private hospitals did so to highlight the quality of their services. There is no central agency for accreditation, which means hospitals receive accreditation from various agencies that lay down different standards.

Why you should care?

To get accreditation, hospitals will have to meet standards laid down by the state. These include guidelines to protect patients against hospital-acquired infections and other problems. With all hospitals needing accreditation, the quality of healthcare will improve.

Affordable dialysis

Mumbai will soon have six civic-run centres that will provide dialysis at highly subsidised rates. This will be a boon for those who suffer from kidney disease and have no choice but to pay for dialysis twice or thrice a week at private centres. About 1.5 lakh new patients suffer from end-stage renal failure annually, but only 3,500 get kidney transplants and 6,000 undergo dialysis because of the cost involved.

“There will be three centres each in the eastern and western suburbs,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.

The centres will be set up on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. The civic body has floated two models for the project. One is a charitable model wherein a trust will run the centre and provide dialysis at rates lower than those charged by civic hospitals. The second is a commercial model, wherein the group running it will have to provide free dialysis to poor patients and compensate for the cost by charging others.

The city will also get six cardiac ambulances, equipped with respirators, doctors and paramedics, to transport critical patients.

The ambulances will be on standby 24x7 at six suburban civic hospitals.

Officials said the ambulances would reduce the fatality rate in cases of cardiac arrest by 50 per cent as staff will be able to stabilise the patient in the ambulance itself.

Healthcare cards

Over the next year, more than eight crore health cards will be issued across the state, entitling holders to free treatment at any listed government or private hospital.

The government is rolling out the cashless cards under a health insurance scheme, which is likely to be the biggest welfare scheme undertaken by any state.

“All families in the state, except the ones that have white ration cards (for those with an annual income of over Rs 1 lakh), will get the cards,” said Health Minister Suresh Shetty.

Card holders are entitled to free hospitalisation, any of the 300 medical procedures listed and free medicines for 10 days after discharge.

A trust is being set up to run the scheme.

The scheme will be paper-less. Hospitals will be required to set up a facilitation counter and post a doctor there. The patient’s card details will reach the central control room at a mere swipe of the card, and sanction will be granteed.

First Published: Jul 12, 2010 02:44 IST