Pvt hosps in push-back mode, to meet health panel head on Fri | Kolkata News – Times of India

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Kolkata: Private hospitals, under the banner of Association of Hospitals of Eastern India (AHEI), are all set to seek more clarity and plead their case with the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) chairman Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee. Hospitals will then take a unanimous call on implementing the recent advisories issued by the health commission, especially on revising of bed charges and offering discount on medicines and consumables.
On Tuesday, AHEI members deliberated on five recent advisories the commission had issued in an attempt to bring down the cost of Covid-19 treatment. With hospitals wanting more clarity, a delegation — led by its president Rupak Barua — is scheduled to meet Banerjee on August 28 to discuss the issues raised during Tuesday’s committee meeting.
“Hospitals have unanimously decided to present our case to the commission and ask the chairman for more clarity since there are some technical issues involved,” said Barua after the meeting.
Most of the 16 major private hospitals that are part of AHEI have expressed strong reservations on the discount of medicine and consumables and revision of bed charges. Hospitals said while some of the advisories by the commission were welcome, some will leave hospitals under further financial constraint.
“How can we offer 10% discount on medicines on which we get just about 5% margin of profit? Some of the high-end drugs are not even available in the all medicine stores. And how can we ask the patient party to procure those on their own if the medicine is required in the middle of the night or say family members of the patients are under quarantine?” asked a hospital administrator.
On Saturday, WBCERC had asked hospitals to go back to the bed charges that existed on March 1, 2020, and also offer a discount of 10% and 20% on medicines and consumables, respectively.
“Hospitals are already giving discounts to patients, especially those under the government health schemes, mediclaims and corporate tie-ups. Therefore, we need more clarity on this discount issue,” said Barua.
Hospitals also said that the revision of bed charges since April 1, 2020, is a part of the yearly financial exercise and had nothing to do with the pandemic. “The advisory also does not specify if the revision of bed charges pertains to only Covid patients or it applies to non-Covid patients as well. If we were to go back to 2019 bed charges for non-Covid patients too, it will leave hospitals in financial stress,” said an official of another private hospital.
Hospitals, however, said they had already implemented advisories on the deposit amount and making billing more transparent. “We have started working on some advisory like displaying of hospital rates for more transparency,” said Sudipta Mitra, CEO of Peerless Hospital.
The hospital representatives also argued that taking consent from a patient’s family for investigative tests that cost more than Rs 2,000 was not always possible, especially in cases where the test is required urgently in critical patients. “We will be waiting and watching as to what emerges from Friday’s meet with the WBCERC chairman to decide on implementation of the recent advisories,” said a spokesperson of a private hospital.

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