On Monday, public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Calcutta High Court against the State Health Commission for failing to fix rates for treatment and diagnostics in private hospitals and nursing homes and for some hospitals and nursing homes violating the West Bengal Clinical Establishments Act, 2017. Bhaskarananda Halder filed the petition through Advocate Srikanta Dutta. "PIL filed in Calcutta HC against State Health Commission for not fixing up rates for treatment of patients and diagnostics in private hospitals and nursing homes and violation of WB Clinical Establishments Act, 2017 by some hospitals and nursing homes," Dutta informed.
He went on to say that a statutory mandate is for the creation of regulations to that effect, as well as an absolute adherence to them. He stated that it is not being done. The West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation, and Transparency) Bill, 2017, was enacted by the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal. The act abolished the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act of 2010. The Act aims to increase openness, stop patient harassment, and prevent medical malpractice in private hospitals and nursing homes. Clinics, dispensaries, and polyclinics are also included in the scope. The West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation, and Transparency) Act, 2017, establishes strict guidelines for hospital operations and recommends penalties for any violations.
Main directions under the WB Clinical Establishment Act to clinical establishments:
- Treat victims of car accidents, acid attacks, and rape, even if they are unable to pay for treatment right away. The hospital would be able to collect the treatment costs "in due course".
- The hospital would be able to collect the treatment costs "in due course". Even if the payment for treatment has not been paid, the body of a patient may be released.
- Maintain patient and family grievance cells to receive concerns regarding treatment, billing, and staff behaviour.
- Set up a help desk for each patient to ensure good communication.
- Implement an e-prescription system, keep medical records electronically, and give each patient a copy of their medical information and treatment details when they leave.
- Follow fixed rates and costs, such as investigation packages, bed charges, operating room procedures, critical care, ventilation, implants, consultation, and other tests and procedures. Any additional treatment or procedure will not be charged in addition to the established rates and charges, including the package rates.
- Provide an accurate assessment of treatment costs not covered by fixed rates and charges, including package prices. The final bill can't go over the budget estimate by more than a certain percentage set by the government.
- If the clinical establishment has more than 100 beds, make an effort to establish fair-priced drug shops and diagnostic centres.
- If the establishment has received government land or other assistance, provide “completely free treatment” to 20 per cent of outpatient patients and 10 per cent of inpatient patients.
(With inputs from ANI)
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