Govt may make it mandatory for hospitals to treat accident victims
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The Health Ministry is planning to make it "mandatory for all hospitals and doctors to treat traffic accident victims and women in labour irrespective of whether initial payments have happened or not". However, the Medical Council of India (MCI) has said that such a move can only be implemented after extensive consultation with stakeholders.
"Under the rules of the Clinical Establishment Act... patients can be shifted only after they have been stabilised. Institutions and individuals can lose their licence for non-compliance. We are empowering district magistrates to take action," said Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general, health services.
This is a part of a slew of measures being planned towards a model law to guarantee treatment to people in emergency medical conditions irrespective of their paying capacity. Sources said the MCI is "deeply uncomfortable" about the proposal. The matter was discussed at a meeting of the board of governors last month.
"Our stand is that wider consultation is required to push through something like this... Billing considerations can hardly be wished away without consulting private healthcare providers," said an MCI official.
In August 2006, the Law Commission had proposed a law which would make it illegal for hospitals and doctors to refuse treatment on the ground that it is a medico-legal case, or that the patient is not able to pay immediately, or that he has no medical insurance or other reimbursement facilities. It is only now that the Health Ministry has started action on the proposal.
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