Srinagar, Mar 07: With the treatment cost in private hospitals and nursing homes taking toll on the pockets of the patients, the state government Wednesday claimed that it is seriously considering regulation of rates in private hospitals and that fresh circular in this regard will be issued very soon.
Interestingly although government had fixed rates for procedures and services carried out in private healthcare, the move was got stayed by private hospitals in court. As per sources, the health department has not attempted vacating the stay since then.
“The committee has been constituted for rate regulation in the private hospitals and nursing homes. They have been asked to submit the report. But I can say that fresh circular will be issued very soon for regulation of rates in the private hospitals,” Minister of Health, Asiya Naqash told KNS over phone.
She said that government had constituted a committee to ‘dig deep’ into the infrastructure and facilities of the nursing homes and check whether these operate in accordance with the set norms.
Sources told KNS that the order may be issued in a month. “It will stop overcharging to the patients. Otherwise, these private hospitals are cheating the patients,” sources in the health department said.
Sources said there are no set of rules except the ‘rudimentary’ registration and licensing norms established by the government.
A senior official of health services said, “There is a state of anarchy in private healthcare in state especially in Kashmir. There is no quality control and no cost control. Private hospitals generally do not display the rate list for various services and procedures which is a ‘gross violation of business ethics,”
Sources said that it has been seen that the treatment cost in private hospitals and nursing homes is taking toll on the pockets of the patients.
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. However, no sooner was the order issued private nursing homes took the matter to court and got a stay order.
Sources said that bone of contention between health authorities and private hospitals was not the regulation of rates but the rates that had been fixed.
“They (the private hospitals) had contested the order saying that the health services of Jammu and Kashmir had fixed rates that were not profitable for the businesses,” sources said.
One of the officials in the health department told KNS that in absence of regulations, there have been complaints coming frequently from patients about being fleeced at many nursing homes in J&K.
“Extra-charging is no offence as per current rules, medical negligence cannot be proven in most cases, facilities and infrastructure are not being inspected by anyone. Private hospitals in the state are having a free run,” said the official.
Sources said that there was variation of rates in private hospitals in the state. “One hospital charges Rs 40,000 for a surgery while another hospital charges Rs 30,000 for the same surgery. There are variations in rates, which creates inconveniences to the patients,”
The official said there are 42 private hospitals and nursing homes are registered with the department of Health Services Kashmir.
There are over a hundred private hospitals and nursing homes in the state registered with the department of health department.
But most of them lack necessary facilities with authorities failing to regulate their working.
However, officials said the other hospitals were given registrations after they were affiliated with the government hospitals and said they procure blood from there at the time of emergency. “These hospitals are run mostly by the medicos who are posted in government hospitals and remain absent from duties even during office hours,” sources maintained.
A senior medico of SMHS Hospital said it is necessary for every hospital to have its own blood bank. “If there are complications during the surgery or at the time of emergency, these hospitals most of the times shift patients to tertiary care government hospitals thus risking the lives of patients,” the medico said.
An official of health department said a team of officials inspect hospitals prior to its registration. “Their registration is also being renewed every three years. We check their manpower, infrastructure and they also have to get the NOC from the fire services department, pollution control department and municipal committees,” he said. (KNS)
Rail service resumes
Srinagar, Nov 12: Rail services in Kashmir resumed on Tuesday – over three months after being suspended due to security reasons in view of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, officials said.
Few mini-buses also plied on the Batwara-Batamaloo route through the city centre, while inter-district cabs and auto-rickshaws plied in the city and elsewhere in the valley.
Private transport was plying unhindered.
A railway official told PTI that a train chugged between Baramulla and Srinagar this morning.
He said the train made only two trips on the Baramulla-Srinagar stretch as authorities have directed Railways to ply trains between 10 am and 3 pm only due to security reasons.
The Railways conducted the trial run of the service on the stretch on Monday for the first time in over three months since the unannounced shutdown in the valley.
The official said the Srinagar-Banihal stretch of the railway line would resume in a few days after checking track safety and conducting trial runs.
The train service in the valley was suspended due to security reasons on the morning of 5 August – hours before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and to bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
The Centre’s decision led to an unannounced shutdown in the valley – which completed 100 days on Tuesday — even as authorities imposed severe restrictions which were later gradually eased out.
Markets have been following a new pattern of functioning, opening early morning till around the noon and then downing their shutters to join the protest against abrogation of the special status of the state, officials said.
They said miscreants are using fear mongering to put down any resistance to unannounced shutdown by threatening shopkeepers and businessmen.
The officials said two grenade attacks in the city’s busy Goni Khan market and Kaka Sarai areas were an indication that there were concerted efforts to keep the shutdown going.
Pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continued to remain suspended since 5 August.
Most of the top level and second rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety Act.
Militant killed in Ganderbal gunfight
Srinagar, Nov 12: A militant was killed and an Army soldier injured in an encounter between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Tuesday, police said.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Kulan area of the central Kashmir district in the morning following inputs about the presence of militants.
During the search, the hiding militants fired upon the security forces, who retaliated, according to an officer.
A militant was killed during the gunfight. An army soldier was also injured and rushed to a medical facility for treatment, the officer said.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained. The operation is on and further details are awaited, the officer added.
The incident comes after the encounter where two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Bandipora district of north Kashmir on Monday morning, police said.
While one militant was killed on Sunday during a gunfight between security forces in Lawdara village, about 55 km from Srinagar, another was killed on Monday, police further said. The security forces started a search operation on getting information about the presence of some militants in the area which led to the encounter between the security forces and the militants.
The streak of encounters continues as the state of Kashmir remains under an unprecedented lockdown after the abrogation of article 370.
Unscheduled power cuts affect research in KU
Srinagar, Nov 05: Unscheduled power cuts have severely hit the research work in the University of Kashmir.
“I am doing research on plant ecology and most of my work depends on high definition equipments which work on electricity. I collected plant samples twice from Gulmarg and kept it in freezer for further examination. For four days there was no electricity and with the result my samples became unusable,” said a research scholar.
Another research scholar in Kashmir University said due to frequent power cuts their research work is getting affected. “My equipment developed errors due to power cuts. With the result, it started displaying false readings”, he said.
An official in the Kashmir University said over Rs 25 crore have been sanctioned for 50 different projects in the department of biotechnology, clinical bio-chemistry, botany, zoology, nanotechnology, pharmacy, environmental science, physics, electronics and chemistry.
“The high definition equipment, which works in -80, -20, -120 temperature, are imported from abroad. Regular power cuts are affecting these equipments,” the official said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Chief Engineer PDD, Qazi Hashmat said Kashmir University being a premier institute should install a backup power system to meet exigencies.
“PDD has proposed to provide dedicated power supply from 33 KV line. Once the university credits the amount, we will start work on installation of the line,” Qazi said.
Spokesperson of Kashmir University, Professor Shahid Rasool said the issue has not been brought into hid notice. “I will check with the department heads and resolve it as soon as possible,” he said.
Sources said Kashmir University had signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the PDD to provide 24*7 power supply. Sources said two kanals of land was also earmarked for establishing receiving station for uninterrupted power supply. Sources said Kashmir University is paying Rs 4.2 lakh as monthly electricity tariff to the PDD.