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Arvind Kejriwal: Will cancel licences if private hospitals deny free treatment to accident, burn victims

A meeting was called Tuesday morning, wherein Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met representatives of over 150 private hospitals with more than 30 beds operating in the city.

Written by Astha Saxena | New Delhi |
Updated: July 31, 2019 6:52:08 am
arvind kejriwal, kejriwal meeting, delhi cm hospitals, delhi cm pvt hospital, meeting with pvt hospital representatives, indian express Kejriwal on Monday. Under the scheme, hospitals are reimbursed for treatment. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Coming down heavily on private hospitals for allegedly refusing to provide free treatment to victims of accidents, burns and acid attacks, the Delhi government has warned that it will not hesitate to cancel their licences if they are found guilty.

A meeting was called Tuesday morning, wherein Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met representatives of over 150 private hospitals with more than 30 beds operating in the city. Launched in February 2018, the Delhi government scheme is meant to ensure free treatment to victims of accidents, burns and acid attacks in private hospitals. A total of 2,501 people have been treated under the scheme from February 2018 to April 2019.

Under the scheme, anyone falling under any of the three categories can be admitted in a private hospital in the city and the government will pay for treatment. The patient will not be charged and private hospitals will be reimbursed at set rates, for which bills have to be submitted. These bills will be scrutinised by Health Department officials.

“It has been conveyed to them that strict action will be taken against irresponsible hospitals… We have made it clear that if a person dies due to their negligent behaviour, the government will not think twice before cancelling the hospital’s licence. These guidelines have been mandated by the Supreme Court and the state government is bearing the expense. There should be no reason why any person should be refused treatment,” said Kejriwal.

An output report prepared by the government this year stated that 152 hospitals and medical institutions in the capital are offering treatment to the patients under the scheme. A budget of Rs 50 crore has been allocated by the government for it.

The report further claimed that Rs 1.95 crore has been reimbursed by Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK) towards treatment of such people. In August last year, several private hospitals wrote to the government threatening to pull out of the scheme as their dues were not being cleared.

“The scheme was started to ensure that people are treated within the golden hour — the one hour after any accident when treatment is most effective in cases of traumatic injuries. But in several instances, we have seen that private hospitals have turned down a patient over fears of not getting paid… In the last few days, I have received some complaints that few hospitals are still refusing to treat patients. The hospitals have assured us that no patient under the scheme will be denied treatment,” said Kejriwal.

Representatives of hospitals and nursing homes raised several grievances during the meeting.

According to the sources, representatives of several nursing homes explained how they have been facing trouble while transporting a patient to another hospital. The CM has assured the services of CATS ambulances to them in such critical situations.

Another concern raised by private hospitals was about the reimbursement process. “Many times, a patient visits two private hospitals for treatment. In such a scenario, the government will reimburse the amount to both the hospitals if a patient has availed treatment,” clarified an official.

Hospitals have been asked to submit their suggestions, if any, to the department of health after which a follow-up meeting will take place to have an update on the implementation of the scheme.

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