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Govt yet to make move to regulate private hospitals


By Mudassir Kuloo

Srinagar, Apr 10: Over six-months have passed since a committee submitted its recommendations for regulation of rates in the private hospitals, yet it awaits implementation due to the opposition from the proprietors.
The failure of the government to regulate rates is taking a toll on patients, who are being charged as per the will of hospitals.
The committee headed by Director Health Services Kashmir submitted its report in September last year for regulation of rates.
However, the government has so far failed to its execution due to opposition by private hospitals.
An official in the Health Department said that private hospitals rates were monitored everywhere in the world.
“There is no check on private hospitals in the valley,” the official said.
In absence of regulations, there have been frequent complaints about the patients being fleeced by private hospitals, he said.
There are 42 private hospitals and nursing homes registered with the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK).
“There are also variations in tests in privately run medical labs,” the official said.
The official said that private hospitals have raised objections over implementation of the report for regulation of rates.
“Let us hope that the government will implement it, so that there is uniformity in rates,” the official said.
In 2012, Health Department had issued an order making mandatory for nursing homes to display costs against services provided by them for the purpose of transparency.
A government of India’s survey released in 2016 has revealed that childbirth at a private hospital in J&K would cost more than it would cost in most states of India.
The survey has said that for a single childbirth at a private hospital in Kashmir’s rural private nursing home is Rs. 23,750 on an average, higher than national average.
Ghulam Mohammad Bhat, whose brother underwent surgery for removal of gall bladder last month, said, “We were charged Rs 50,000 by a private hospital in Srinagar. One of our relatives for the same surgery was charged only Rs 35,000.”
It has also been seen that patient load in government hospitals force people to turn to private hospitals for treatment.
Bhat, who is resident of Bemina, said there is huge variation in rates.
“The proprietors of hospitals charge as per their will for surgeries and tests. The government should fix reasonable rates so that patients are not charged with hefty sums for surgeries and consultations,” he added.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, said that he did a thorough exercise for regulation of rates before submitting the report to the government.
“We talked to lot of private practitioners and doctors. We recommended that there shall be reasonable rates,” Dr Rehman said.
Presently, he said, they can’t raid any hospital for charging exorbitant to patients.
“Once the rates are fixed, we too can take action,” he added.