The Delhi government on Wednesday formed a nine-member expert committee to suggest norms to be put in place to stop overcharging by the private hospitals in the city.
The newly formed committee will recommend norms that will have to be mandatorily followed by all private health clinics in the national capital. The committee will also norms to cap the profit margin on medicines and consumables sold by private hospitals in the city.
On Wednesday, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the decision was taken after receiving complaints related to alleged overcharging, refusal or delay in providing immediate medical care to victims of crime or road accidents, or hospitals compelling patients to buy drugs from in-house pharmacy, rude behaviour by healthcare workers and delay in initiating medico-legal cases.
The government, later in a statement, said the panel will also suggest mechanism so that all private hospitals and nursing homes should, as far as possible, only prescribe drugs mentioned in the National List of Essential Medicines (NELM).
The reports added that the committee will also look into consumables, behaviour protocol of medical staff, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and misdemeanour at the hospital.
According to reports, the committee will be headed by Delhi’s director general of health services and will also include senior doctors from the Delhi Medical Council and Delhi Medical Council and the national president of India Medical Association Dr KK Agarwal.
"The government has formed a nine-member committee to look into the issue of overcharging by private hospitals. The panel will submit its findings and recommendation by December 31," Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain quoted as saying. "the committee will also “prepare a mechanism” to prescribe “as far as possible” drugs mentioned in the National List of Essential Medicines," Jain added.
The step by the Delhi govt comes just a week after a baby declared dead by the Delhi's 'Max Specialist Hospital was found alive just before cremation. However, the child later died under treatment in another hospital. Delhi government canceled the license of the Max Hospital.
The Outlook earlier this year had reported that the doctors of private hospitals charge almost 1453 per cent extra from the patients when they use medical equipment brought from foreign countries.
The Times of India had reported last week how certain corporate hospitals were making profits ranging from 275% to 525% on the sale of disposable syringes by purchasing them at a discounted rate and billing them to the patient at MRP.
On December 13 a man registered a police complaint against Fortis Hospital, Noida, alleging that he was charged over Rs 1 lakh for treatment of his daughter who died four hours after being admitted there.
In another incident, earlier this year Haryana's Fortis Hospital was also in the news after parents of a 7-year-old child who died of Dengue alleged that the hospital handed them a bill of 15 Lakh for 15 days. The parents in their complaint against the hospital claimed that the hospital switched to a treatment which was seven times more expensive than the initial treatment. Following the complaint, the Haryana government had ordered a probe into the matter.