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Breather for poor patients

- Govt notice to private hospitals

Bhubaneswar, July 26: The state government today issued a notification, making it mandatory for private hospitals and nursing homes, which receive government land at a subsidised rate, to provide free treatment to poor patients.

The no-objection certificate to run the hospitals will be withdrawn if they fail to comply with the order.

According to the notification, free treatment to those belonging to the below poverty line category (BPL) patients should be provided in 25 per cent cases in all disease categories in the outpatients department and 10 per cent in inpatients department at private hospitals and nursing homes, which have benefited from the government.

The state government’s notification came after Orissa High Court on July 20 had fixed a 15-day deadline for it to give details on implementation of a Supreme Court direction related to free treatment for poor patients at private hospitals built on the state government land.

The court had set the deadline while hearing a PIL filed by the Odia Yuva Manch president Rohan Mohanty.

The petitioner had alleged that the Supreme Court’s guidelines on the issue were being ignored in Bhubaneswar.

In September 2011, the Supreme Court directed all the private hospitals built on subsidised government land to reserve 25 per cent of their outpatient department capacity and 10 per cent of beds at the indoor level for free treatment of the poor and needy patients.

The two-judge bench of Justice A.K. Rath and Justice B.R. Sarangi had set the deadline for the state health and family welfare department to submit an affidavit giving details on implementation of the Supreme Court order.

According to the notification, the private hospitals and nursing homes which have received land from the government at a subsidised rate will have to submit statement of the medical facility regarding free treatment in an enclosed format to the government by 10th of every month.

“If any hospital or nursing home fails to comply with the above stipulations, action will be initiated for cancellation of no-objection certificate as well as allotment of land,” said a health department official.

The state government has also made it mandatory for all the hospitals to properly display the free medical facilities it provides to the poor patients with their total number at the outpatients department every month.

The information will be displayed both in Odia and English and put up at prominent places at the hospital for public viewing.

The notifications said that nearly 44 private hospitals and clinics, including Apollo Hospital, SUM hospital, KIIMS and Kalinga Hospital, had to provide free medical treatment to the poor patients. Sources said the health department would ask the hospitals to provide medical treatment to the poor in critical areas such as heart surgery and cancer.

“We are really happy over the state government’s notification of forcing the private hospitals to provide free medical treatment to the poor patients. Now, I can treat my husband’s heart ailment at the major hospitals in the city,” said Madumayee Das, 35, who lives at Salia Sahi along with her four kids.

A spokesperson for a leading private hospital in the city said they would abide by the government guidelines and provide free medical treatment to the poor.