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Open letter to Charity Commissioner, Mumbai

  • Livewire: Maharashtra   
  • Date: December 25, 2010
  • Updated: March 13, 2011

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Mumbai, has sent the appended open letter to the Charity Commsioner of the city over treatment for patients from weaker sections.

The Charity Commissioner, Office of the Charity Commissioner,
Maharashtra State, Mumbai, 3rd floor, 83, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 018.

Dear Sir

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) , Mumbai is shocked to know that several public trust hospitals from the city have written to the Charity Commissioner claiming that they are facing a financially demanding situation to treat patients from the weaker sections ( Refer article “Cant treat patients anymore” ,Times of India Dec 22, 2010, Sumitra Deb Roy)

According to the article, around fourteen hospitals, including Lilavati, Breach Candy, Jaslok, Bombay, Hiranandani, and Saifee Hospitals, have appealed to the Charity Commissioner stating that they are currently overspending in order to treat the poor and are thus incurring losses. Some of them have even mentioned that the only choice left to them is to stop treating the poor, while others have sought permission to treat lesser number of patients from the weaker sections.

It is a well-known fact that all of these charitable hospitals are provided concessions in the form of tax/octroi/custom duty exemption, concessional electricity/water, concessional land, income tax exemption, and concessional/additional FSI. In return these hospitals are under legal obligation to reserve earmark 10% of the total number ofoperational beds for indigent patients and provide medical treatment to the indigent patients free of cost and reserve and earmark 10% of the total number of operational beds at concessional rate to the weaker section patients as per the provisions of section 41AA of the B. P. T. Act. These hospitals have also been instructed to create Indigent Patients Fund (IPF) by crediting two percent of gross billing of all patients (other than indigent and weaker section patients). These hospitals are also expected to publish the Scheme on its Notice Board displayed at a conspicuous place of the Hospital.

In reality, the implementation of the scheme has been observed to be lacking in many aspects. According to the data collected from Mumbai based hospitals through the website of the Charity Commissioner (http://charity.mah.nic.in/static_pages/aboutus.php), in 2008, there were 57 charitable hospitals with a total of 6909 beds and have reserved around 16% of their total beds for indigent and weaker sections. The combined balance amount in all these charitable hospitals available in the IPF account was Rs 64,812,999/-. Some of the hospitals have shown considerable balance in their IPF account (Jaslok- 30,41,698/-, Bombay- 4,50,39,344/-, Saifee- 6,75,70,111/), while some have shown negative balance (Lilavati-88,58,570/-, Breach Candy- 31,47,878/-), while some have not disclosed this amount (Hiranandani Hospital). Study coordinated by CEHAT done in August-September 2007 among 25 charitable hospitals, has revealed that many hospitals do not have the scheme displayed in conspicuous areas, while others have not displayed it at all.

We demand that these Charitable Hospitals make details of the services and amount supported to the indigent and weaker sections in the public domain as instructed by the High Court order. We also demand the scheme details be displayed in conspicuous areas in these hospitals where it is visible for all those who visit them. There is also requirement that a Medical Social Worker be designated in these hospitals to facilitate the medical care of the needy patients.

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan-Mumbai
Denny John (CSSC), Mary Arokia ( YUVA ), Adv Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Leni chaudhuri,
Dyaneshwar ( APNALAYA), Minal Cheda ( SATHI)

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