The Delhi government’s recent advisory to cap profit margins and medical bills by private hospitals has not gone down well with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which calling the move “populist” equated it with a step to “gag” the private healthcare set ups.
The advisory will affect the patient safety and quality of care, warned the doctors’ body while calling for amendments.The IMA stated that “arbitrary capping” on high-risk packages may result in hospitals discouraging families to admit critical care patients (with high chance of mortality) or treating them extremely conservatively post-admission since they are not likely to even recover the actual cost of treatment.
“A standard operative system needs to be developed by the government in consultations with all the stakeholders, including IMA, in case of medical negligence which needs to be strictly abided,” read a statement issued by the IMA.
As per the IMA, this advisory is “harsh and lacks proper research and understanding” and instead of improving the public health system the government is trying to gag the private healthcare by issuing such advisory without bothering about sustainability.
“Decisions will be vague and incorrect conclusions will be derived in case only specific aspects of the healthcare costing is concerned and not considering the total cost in healthcare delivery is a grave mistake,” said Dr. Ravi Wankhedkar, IMA national president.Former IMA president Dr Vinay Aggarwal welcomed the advisory related to National List of Essential medicines (NLEM) and non-NLEM drugs saying that the government should at the same time bring all the costly drugs and disposables in the NLEM category.
Availability of these drugs should be increased at pharmacies, nursing homes and hospitals for both indoor and outdoor patients. Universal regulations in the procurement prices of these drugs even for the non-NLEM category will be appreciable, said Dr Aggarwal while asserting that effective implementation of the policy of one company, one salt, one drug and one price will solve the purpose. Though the IMA backed the proposal not to compel patients for buying drugs from in-house pharmacy with exception in emergency and critical cases, it expressed strong reservation for capping pricing of investigations to affect the basic quality of service depending upon the choice of treatment mode and the expertise of the clinicians who are interpreting the findings and preparing the results.
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