Andhra Pradesh patients hit by lack of transparency

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The registration number of the doctor must also be given on every prescription, certificate and money receipt he/she gives to patients.

Vijayawada: Private hospitals in the state are grossly violating the Private Medical Care Establishments Act 2007. Andhra Pradesh was one of the first states to pass legislation to regulate private medical establishments, even before the Union government did so.

According to the Act, all clinical establishments should display the rates charged for each type of service provided by them, at the reception counter, in both the local language and in English. The details of rates and services should be clearly explained to patients or their attendants at the time of admission.

Hospitals must also display the names of doctors, with their designations and registration numbers given by the Medical Council of India. The registration number of the doctor must also be given on every prescription, certificate and money receipt he/she gives to patients.

A majority of hospitals in the state do not display their services and charges. This is especially so in super speciality corporate hospitals, so patients do not know how much the treatment will cost until they are presented with the bill.

The Act specifies that information about the standard procedures must be provided, but no hospital follows this. Very few hospitals put up the names of the doctors at the reception.

The Act was intended to bring transparency in the system and to give patients the right to choose their hospital, said joint director, public health, B Veena Kumari. She said registration of a hospital could be cancelled if it doesn’t follow these rules. Though district medical and health officers are authorised to take action against erring hospitals, she admitted that no cases have been booked under the Act.

The reason is not far to seek. The Krishna district DM&HO, Y. Kameswara Prasad, said action will be taken against a hospital only if someone complains! We cannot check hundreds of hospitals on a daily basis, he said, and as of today, no complaint has been received.

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