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Draft Policy on Regulating Private Hospitals to be Re-Examined, Government Sends it Back to Panel

The Delhi government’s Health Department will re-examine the draft policy framed by a committee to regularize the functioning of private hospitals in the capital, to understand the ‘rationale’ behind some of the suggestions. The draft advisory was prepared on the basis of recommendations by a nine-member expert panel, headed by Director-General of Health Services Kirti Bhushan. The panel was formed on December 13 last year, after a family alleged medical negligence by Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh for wrongly declaring a baby dead.

According to sources, senior officials in the department are not satisfied with the draft policy and want the committee to work again on the entire report. “We are sending the report back to the committee and will ask them to go through it once again. The guidelines, once formed, cannot be changed frequently. This is an important decision and cannot be taken in haste,” said a senior Delhi government official. On May 28, the Delhi government had proposed regulations restricting private hospitals and nursing homes from marking up prices of medicines and consumables over 50 percent of their procurement price. The draft was placed in the public domain for 30 days and suggestions were invited.

The draft advisory suggested that private hospitals can charge patients the maximum retail price for medicines under the National List of Essential Medicines, 2015, as their prices have already been capped. It also said hospitals in the region should ensure that rates of surgery packages are “transparent, and should disclose if it covers any complications during the procedure.” However, another official in the department said, “What is the point of reviewing the report again? It was ideally to be submitted by the end of June. It is already delayed by four months now.” The department had received proposals from the Indian Medical Association, Delhi Medical Association, and ASSOCHAM. “Our job was to give suggestions… Now it is up to them to notify the guidelines as per law,” said Dr KK Aggarwal, former national president of IMA. – Indian Express