Mumbai

Private hospitals refusing to treat COVID-19 patients to face action

A health worker at a lab built in a bus at Pune Municipal Corporation’s Savitribai Phule School at Bhavani Peth.

A health worker at a lab built in a bus at Pune Municipal Corporation’s Savitribai Phule School at Bhavani Peth.  

Two committees constituted to act on patients’ complaints

Private hospitals in Pune city refusing to treat COVID-19 patients will face legal action under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said on Monday. Two committees constituted under senior officials will be looking into complaints filed against private hospitals.

“In accordance with the government resolution of May 21, 80% of the beds in private hospitals have been requisitioned by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) for treatment of COVID-19 cases from Monday. Any hospitals found overcharging or refusing to treat such patients are liable to face action under MESMA, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and the Disaster Management Act, 2005,” Mr. Mhaisekar said.

He said complaints of such patients will be addressed by two committees — one set up under Pune District Collector Naval Kishore Ram and the second under Mr. Mhaisekar, himself.

“The collector will act as the chairman of the committee, which will have the district civil surgeon as a member secretary. Medical experts, too, would be part of both committees and would be advising us on whether the charges by private hospitals are properly levied,” Mr. Mhaisekar said.

Mr. Mhaisekar, along with Mr. Ram, PMC Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad, and other officials met with heads of 19 major private hospitals to iron out issues pertaining to utilisation of beds in these establishments.

Information on beds

Stating that the administration will soon put up information on the number of beds available in private hospitals, the Divisional Commissioner said the utilisation of these would be left to the discretion of the district collector and the PMC Commissioner.

“While complaints against private hospitals even in the past did not necessarily mean that they were overcharging patients, we will be strictly regulating them this time as the maximum COVID-19 cases within Pune city are of poor people from the highly infected slum clusters,” Mr. Ram said.

Stating that there is no dearth of doctors in private medical establishments in Pune city, Mr. Ram urged them to come forward and help their colleagues in the government sector as they have “a big moral and administrative responsibility” to combat the present medical crisis.

103 new cases

Meanwhile, 103 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Pune district on Monday, to take the case tally to 7,773, while five more fatalities since Sunday evening took the death toll to 337.

“Of these, only 2,934 are active cases while 4,502 people (57.92%) have been discharged,” Mr. Mhaisekar pointed out. The death toll in Pune division — which consists of the districts of Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur along with Pune — has now risen to 456.

Pune division’s case tally has now reached 9,961, including 4,256 active cases, while 5,249 people — more than 50 % of total cases reported in these five districts — have been discharged till date. As many as 216 of these patients are critical, Mr. Mhaisekar said.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 11:22:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/private-hospitals-refusing-to-treat-covid-19-patients-to-face-action/article31727178.ece

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