Govt threatens to use legal options against pvt hospitals


“We are trying to develop a partnership with the private sector in a scientific way,” said R K Srivastava, Director General of Health Services in the Union health ministry, while Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia, threatened the hospital with legal action.
Indraprastha Apollo hospital in Delhi refused to admit H1N1 patients citing risks to other patients in the hospital.

“The mortality rate of H1N1 cases is 1 per cent in the normal population but is significantly higher in people who are immuno-compromised. We are, therefore, not in a position to provide facilities for H1N1 flu screening, sample collection and in patient treatment in our campus for fear of cross infection,” a statement released by the hospital said.

The same policy will be applicable to Apollo group’s hospitals in other cities. Delhi officials met the capital’s private hospitals twice in the last ten days seeking their cooperation in tackling the swine influenza crisis. Only two private hospitals showed willingness. The rest refused to attend to H1N1 patients.

Invoking the Act
State governments, however, can always invoke the Epidemic Disease Act to compel private hospitals taking the swine flu patients. Sensing the private sector’s attitude, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday threatened them with legal option.

States have been asked by the Centre to identify private hospitals capable of handling H1N1 cases.

The hospitals have to adhere to a strict government guidelines. The most important criterion is to have an isolation ward, without central air conditioning, and with a separate entry point and out patient department for H1N1 patients. There should be a separate team of well-trained doctors and nurses.

Only testing
Private hospitals are only willing to offer their testing facility for which the samples will be collected outside. But they can start diagnosis only after officials certify their facilities and are free to charge whatever they wish.
In government laboratories, each positive test costs Rs 10,000 and negative test Rs 5,000, which is being borne by the government.

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