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Lens on private heal hubs
- Bokaro mounts heat on unregistered clinics, commercial vehicles

Bokaro deputy commissioner Uma Shankar Singh on Thursday constituted a six-member committee that will visit private nursing homes and diagnostic centres to find out whether they are charging exorbitant rates for services rendered and are abiding by the Clinical Establishments Act.

Besides Uma Shankar, the committee comprises Bokaro SP Kuldip Dwivedi, civil surgeon Shashi Bhushan Singh, his predecessor Pramod Kumar, ayurvedic doctor Mohammad Hasmattullah and a member of district consumer court.

The move has been prompted by the heal hubs’ reluctance to apply for registration. As of now, only 70 of the district’s 200 private nursing homes, clinics and medical centres have submitted the registration forms.

The health authorities are of the opinion that private entities shy away from the registration process as it entails a customary inspection, which will expose their inadequacies and bring them under the administration’s scanner.

But the deputy commissioner asserted that all private medical establishments would have to follow rules laid out by Clinical Establishment Act. “Fines between Rs 50,000 and 5 lakh will be slapped on nursing homes and diagnostic centres flouting norms. I will keep a watch on the functioning of the newly constituted committee,” Uma Shankar said, adding that healthcare hubs ignoring the registration process would be raided.

Sources said the deputy commissioner had received complaints that most private nursing homes and diagnostic centres were charging exorbitant rates. “Patients, who come to Bokaro from remote areas, are lured by brokers into taking admission to specific nursing homes. While these brokers receive commission, the health hubs fleece the patients by slapping random bills,” an official said.

He added that several of these addresses didn’t have basic facilities and got pathological tests done at Bokaro General Hospital. “They get doctors from state-run hospitals to perform operations. The doctors charge high and their names are not furnished to the civil surgeon’s office,” he said.

Former civil surgeon Pramod Kumar admitted quality of health services provided by private heal hubs was highly unsatisfactory. “I will submit a report personally to the deputy commissioner about the quality of healthcare provided by these clinics,” he said.