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Grievance Redressal Cell Sought

The regulation of treatment charges and setting up an effective grievance redressal system at private hospitals are among the demands made by the Jan Arogya Abhiyaan and other social organisations to the committee formed to draft the Maharashtra Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2014.

More than 80% of patients in the state seek care in private hospitals and clinics. However, the sector is characterized by large-scale commercialisation and overcharging and violation of patient’s rights, say healthcare activists.

“Regulation of rates in private hospitals is essential. The national Clinical Establishments Act – Rules 2012 has clear provisions to regulate the rates for services in private hospitals. Even the terms of reference of the committee formed to draft the Maharashtra Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2014 mentions the need for an act to ensure affordable rates of care, which implies regulation of rates. However, the current near-final draft for Maharashtra prepared by the committee does not include any of these provisions,” said Anant Phadke, an activist associated with the Jan Arogya Abhiyaan.

Phadke said, “Two members of the experts’ committee have strongly argued for inclusion of regulation of rates, but their arguments were overruled by the chairperson who belongs to the Indian Medical Association. The Jan Arogya Abhiyaan strongly demands that regulation of rates must be included in the provisions of the Maharashtra Act, otherwise it would not provide any relief to ordinary people.”

Similarly, a full-time grievance redressal mechanism is necessary to protect patients’ interests. “The current draft has a provision for grievance redressal, however, the committee would be headed by the district collector, who is completely preoccupied with existing responsibilities and may not be able to give adequate time for ongoing redressal of patients’ complaints,” said activist Abhay Shukla.

“There must be a full-time grievance redressal mechanism in each district headed by aretired judge, which would be able to do justice to the patients complaints. Lack of such a mechanism would lead to an ineffective act from the viewpoint of patients,” Shukla said.

Activist Abhijit More pointed out certain serious deficiencies in the draft, which need to be corrected to make the act relevant to patients seeking care in private hospitals.

Paediatrician Dilip Sarda, one of the 19 committee members and state president of IMA, said, “It is very difficult to regulate rates at private hospitals because the existing system does not provide gradation of nursing homes and hospitals. Besides, experience and expertise of doctors cannot be measured. If the gradation of hospitals comes into effect, we can incorporate regulation of rate in rules, but incorporating it in the bill is not advisable.”


Regulate Rates At Private Hospitals: Activists

Times Of India
05 May 2014
Pune, India

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