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Private hospitals asked to submit treatment rates to regulator

The state health department on Monday asked private hospitals and nursing homes to submit their rates of treatment and other charges to the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission before finalising them for a particular year.

At a meeting with representatives of private healthcare institutes, an expert committee including senior government doctors and health department officials also discussed how to implement several draft recommendations of the commission.

In a draft recommendation, the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has stated: “All clinical establishments shall furnish to the Commission, at least 60 days before the commencement of each financial year, a detailed statement with regard to the system of billing and the tariff chart intended to be followed by them for both indoor patient department and outdoor patient department treatments including diagnostic and in their in-house pharmacies during the ensuing financial year.”

“… the Commission may, if it so deems fit and proper, direct the clinical establishment to revise and/or amend after the proposed system of billing and it’s proposed tariff chart for the concerned financial year,” the commission’s draft states.

The private hospitals and nursing homes told the expert committee members that most of the healthcare institutes have their rates available on their websites.

A draft recommendation states that a hospital or a nursing home cannot take more than Rs 50,000 as advance during admission. During the Covid pandemic, there were allegations that several hospitals were demanding lakhs of rupees as advance during admission.

“When a patient comes to a clinical establishment for in-house admission, the clinical establishment shall, at the time of admission, be entitled to demand from the patient or near relatives an advance payment that… would not… exceed 20 per cent of the estimated cost of the proposed treatment, or 20 per cent of the cost of any existing package for such treatment or a maximum of Rs 50,000, whichever is less,” the commission’s draft reads.

If a patient is not in a position to pay the advance, he or she has to be admitted and the relatives can pay the amount within 12 hours of the provisional admission.

“The commission has covered most of the points through advisories… these are in practice across most hospitals. The committee overseeing the process has sought our inputs, which we will provide,” said Rupak Barua, president of the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India and group CEO, AMRI Hospitals.

“There are a few modifications or additions to the act which had been discussed in the meeting,” said R. Venkatesh, vice-president of the hospitals’ association and COO, east and south, Narayana Health. Telegraph India

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