About a month after it was found that the majority of private hospitals registered as charitable trusts in Mumbai were,in fact,not poor-friendly,the state health department has decided to run a similar inspection in Pune.
From April 15 to 30,the state health department will despatch a four-member team to inspect 49 private hospitals in the city.
State health secretary T C Benjamin,who was in Pune on Saturday to hold a meeting with health officials,said that a review of charitable hospitals performance will be conducted to check whether poor patients were indeed getting free treatment.
According a Bombay High Court direction,it is mandatory for charitable hospitals to reserve a certain percentage of beds for the poor. The scheme came into effect in September 2006. As part of the scheme,all charitable hospitals have to reserve 10 per cent beds for indigent patients and another 10 per cent for economically weaker sections. The scheme also makes treatment for indigent patients free of cost at all charitable hospitals.
Benjamin told Newsline that a similar inspection was carried out in Mumbai,where at least 33 private hospitals were found to violate the rule. He pointed out that according to the scheme,charitable hospitals need to set aside at least two per cent of their gross billing of paying patients to create an Indigent Patient Fund (IPF). They get additional Floor Space Index (FSI),concessions in water,power,customs,octroi duties and sales and income tax.
The health secretary admitted that he had received complaints stating that few hospitals follow the regulation.
The four-member team that will inspect the hospitals,comprise representative from the charity commissioners office,health department,two municipal corporations in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and an official from the sales tax department.
Last year,a government committee report had pointed out that on an average,only 4.03 per cent of the earmarked beds are used for charity.
Following inspections in Mumbai,the state health department also distributed a software to the hospitals to provide daily information on the number of poor patients being treated there. Arogyamitras were also appointed at the hospitals to help the poor patients get free services at these hospitals.