4 renowned Mumbai hospitals get show cause notices for not complying with admission norms of COVID-19 patients

Mumbai: In a significant move, the Maharashtra Government on Tuesday served show cause notices on leading private hospitals, including Bombay Hospital, Jaslok, Lilavati and Hinduja, for allegedly not complying with the recent norms on admission and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

By serving notices, the government has sent the four hospitals a signal to fall in line or face punitive action. The government also conveyed it to them that this is not the time to maximise profits, but to cooperate with the government, so that the maximum number of patients can be treated and cured.

Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope, until till 2 am on Tuesday, was doing the rounds of private hospitals to personally ascertain whether or not they were implementing the government order to keep 80% beds reserved for COVID-19 patients and 20% for non-COVID. However, to his surprise he found that some of them were brazenly flouting the government norms despite having only 50 per cent occupancy.

Tope told FPJ, "As per the government order, it is mandatory for hospitals to admit COVID-19 patients on 80% reserved beds, while on the remaining 20% beds they can treat non-COVID patients. In some of the hospitals it was not being done even though the government has clarified that COVID-19 patients in these hospitals will get free treatment under the state health insurance scheme titled Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana. Also, hospitals had not displayed information relating to availability of beds, allotment of beds done thus far and the number of vacant beds." He reiterated that despite repeated appeals the hospitals were not admitting COVID-19 patients and some of them had to move helter-skelter in search of one.

Tope said nearly 12,000 beds would be available, if these private hospitals were to diligently reserve 80% beds for COVID-19 patients. "So, show cause notices have been served on four leading hospitals. Stern action will be initiated against other hospitals, too, if they fail to comply with the government order," he noted. An officer with the Public Health Department said that action can be taken under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Epidemic Act, 1897, and the Indian Penal Code, for which necessary powers were delegated to the district collectors and municipal commissioners.

Meanwhile, PD Hinduja Hospital and MRC have confirmed receipt of the government notice from the office of CEO, State Health Assurance Society. "We are in adherence with all the provisions laid down by the state health regulators and are in the process of replying to the notice. At PD Hinduja Hospital, we fully support the government in the fight against the pandemic and have built suitable facilities for COVID treatment, which are continuously being enhanced. We are doing very thing possible to ensure the safety and well-being of all our patients in these testing times," the spokesman said.


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