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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Jan Sunwai critiqued profiteering by pvt hospitals, not medical profession: Jan Arogya Abhiyan

The IMA had written to state health minister Rajesh Tope to look into the issue as they claimed such a hearing could lead to negative opinions about healthcare workers.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
February 13, 2021 6:08:54 am
Indian Medical Association, Jan Sunwai, Jan Arogya Abhiyan, Covid patients, Rajesh Tope, indian express newsIMA had pulled up JAA for conducting a public hearing on problems faced by patients’ relatives while availing treatment for Covid-19.

After the Indian Medical Association (IMA) publicly criticised the Jan Sunwai (public hearing) for patients organised by Jan Arogya Abhiyan (JAA), JAA office bearers said the complaints did not concern doctors, but concerned overcharging, profiteering and insensitivity towards patients by certain big corporate and commercial hospitals.

The Jan Sunwai on February 5 had highlighted overcharging of Covid patients by certain large hospitals, and other violations of patients’ rights. The hospitals flouted the Maharashtra government’s directives to charge Covid patients only at government-determined rates, Dr Anant Phadke of JAA said in a statement Friday.

IMA had pulled up JAA for conducting a public hearing on problems faced by patients’ relatives while availing treatment for Covid-19. The IMA had written to state health minister Rajesh Tope to look into the issue as they claimed such a hearing could lead to negative opinions about healthcare workers.

IMA had claimed the Jan Sunwais are a ‘contempt of court’ as per the statement issued by Dr Phadke, Dr Abhay Shukla and others. “Several Jan Sunwais have been held, besides such programmes being organised by many social organisations across the country. Even CAG has recognised Jan Sunwais as a valid tool for accountability,” the statement added.

“Many hospitals were included in the government-funded Mahatma Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MPJAY), but they did not adequately ensure entitlements to patients under this programme. A majority of doctors in such hospitals actually are not responsible for the management of hospitals. In fact, many patients stated they had no complaints against doctors and other staff. At JAA, we support doctors and healthcare professionals who follow medical science and ethics. But the bitter truth today is many private hospital managements indulge in major profiteering,” Dr Shukla said.

The statement added that among the vulnerable people who suffer some injustice, very few come forward to complain publicly. Therefore, it is insensitive to make a point about the small number of patients involved in the Jan Sunwai, and based on this, to ignore these complaints, or demand of the complainants why they did not lodge a complaint with the concerned authorities. “This remark also ignores the fact that many people are not informed about the formal redressal mechanisms, since they are not adequately publicised even by many implementing hospitals. That many patients received unresponsive and insensitive behaviour from the redressal mechanism even when they approached these, was also highlighted in this Jan Sunwai,” it read.

“The problems mentioned by IMA regarding availability of reasonably priced PPE-kits, oxygen cylinders, or staff absenteeism can’t justify gross overcharging of Covid patients by taking undue advantage of their vulnerability. Making the patient pay Rs. 1.5 lakh without even giving a bill, an ambulance charging Rs. 16,000 for a 2 km drive to take the dead body for cremation, billing for oxygen without actually giving it to the patient – can such instances be ignored or justified?” the statement said, adding that IMA comments regarding JAA in this regard are misinformed.

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