Once I went to a multi-specialist hospital in a metropolis city, the registration fee was Rs 1000 and other expenses for doctors fee were other. I went to at least 2 doctors in that hospital and for each doctor, I had to pay the registration around 1000 for instance if a person goes to a multi-specialist hospital for the best treatment the person has to at least pay about 1000 rs for registration, and add to this, the doctor fee charges around approx. 1000rs (depending on the gravity of the disease ) and if the person wants to visit a doctor in emergency hours the fees go up to 1000 rs more the aggregate of all the expenses is rs 3000 approx which is very extracting.
According to the Multidimensional poverty index (MPI) research, India has the biggest number of impoverished people in the world (228.9 million) in 2020. Indian medical industry is forecast to increase 8.6 trillion by FY22 from Rs 4 trillion in FY17 and is one of the largest sectors in terms of both revenue and employment. Both above statements are contradictory in themselves. as the no. of poor getting increasing whereas the healthcare sector of India hitting a peak. Indian healthcare comprises hospitals, medical devices, clinical trials, outsourcing, telemedicine, medical tourism, health insurance, and medical equipment. Indian medical healthcare industry has 2 sectors public and private. the public comes under the government.
Now, the question arises despite having public sectors why is the private hospital getting briskly paced? The most common answer is, it is better equipped, takes individual or good personal care, and maintains hygiene. It is one of the important criteria to stay healthy and security is the most important issue in all hospitals. Security for the patients, visitors, and staff is the top priority for any hospital and private hospitals are best in this. On the other hand, government hospital somewhere fails to provide such facilities to their patients but publicly funded hospital is more flexible towards their insurance policy. But there is nothing wrong with the profit-making business of private hospitals. The government views a hospital or clinic as a business, and as such, you must file taxes and obtain certification just like any other, corporation in the last two decades private hospitals are more commercialized and more money-oriented. People are already concerned about rising hospital costs before they can comprehend the loss of their loved ones. Private hospitals won’t release the deceased’s body until all debts are paid, leaving the next of kin torn between fighting over the payment or grieving the loss. India as whole exhibits this exploitative trend and this happens due to the absence of effective regulation by the government.
THE COVID EFFECT
The situation was exacerbated by the second covid wave in India, fully overtaking the healthcare industry, and leaving hospital patients gasping for air. A startling 215,524 people have already passed away from COVID, setting a new world record for India. The actual death toll, according to experts, is four times greater. This situation was unforgettable and leave mark on Indian history and many said it was the greatest tragedy after the Indian partition. Amidst of covid outbreak, the challenge has been placed against overcharging of a private hospital given the above case Madras HC directed caps on charges and also directed free treatment in government hospitals .however, Political inaction and a health strategy that has been under fire for years are to blame for India’s misery. The majority of Indians—about 66%—who seek medical attention in private hospitals pay out of pocket. Public hospitals are at fault for their subpar facilities, uneven doctor-to-patient ratio, and lack of resources. As compared to public and private hospitals the ratio is far from equal. the private hospitals are twice as every public hospital. Less than 20% of doctors in India adhere to the Medical Council of India’s ethical standards, and the MCI has been implicated in corruption allegations.
The Clinical Establishment Act, which establishes requirements for the calibre and openness of medical care, has only been enacted by 11 of India’s 36 states. The Act asks private healthcare providers to be accountable by prominently posting costs, even though it is intended to set standards for clinical institutions. India has one of the lowest health budgets in the world right now, spending less than $100 annually per person, a number that hasn’t moved in ten years. Medical costs cause 50 million Indians to declare bankruptcy each year. People travel to India for medical care in a flourishing industry called medical tourism. Millions of Indians, however, cannot afford the same standard of care.
According to OXFAM International, the COVID–19 pandemic has made poverty an even greater problem for about 120 people per minute. India always lethargic for the regulation of hospitals The Clinical Establishment Act of 2010 was the Union and some state governments’ first and only attempt to require providers to register themselves and disclose information about what treatments are being delivered and at what cost. Only 11 states have passed these laws, and only one or two have made an effort to enforce them.
In the first half of 2020, health insurance companies received more than 100,000 claims for COVID, with patients with insurance being charged higher sums than patients without insurance. In India’s healthcare system, insurance is essential since it shields individuals and families from the financial burden of unforeseen medical expenses as an individual gets relaxation from the high cost of healthcare though, it has been misused by private hospitals by charging higher rates to insurance companies. a cashless claim can be denied by the hospital Such a situation might occur if the hospital sends inadequate information, if the illness is not covered by the policy, or if the pre-authorization request is not sent promptly. However, this can be misused by those hospitals. they could potentially deny coverage for certain treatments or procedures. Now, the question arises that why the government does not provide subsidies or obligations to those hospitals for poor or needy people.
When those hospitals get to a land, they are obliged by law to provide subsidies to the poor and this ensures by the government but because of lack of transparency these hospitals fake about several total beds and the number of beds they provide to the poor for free and making it difficult to monitor. however, the term poor and free of cost is not well defined by the government which leads to confusion. so, by taking advantage of this loophole and lack of proper regulation mechanism those money-oriented hospitals get an advantage.
It is not like the government has not provided any law regarding awareness of patients’ rights The Patients’ Rights to Quality Health Care Delivery and Grievance Redressal Rules, 2012 is a comprehensive set of rules that outline the rights of patients receiving care in private hospitals in India, and establish a mechanism for patients to file grievances if their rights are not respected. However, like any set of rules, it may have certain provisions or provisions that are open to interpretation or that could potentially be exploited by unscrupulous individuals or organizations. One of the most important and potential loopholes is the lack of awareness among patients. many poor individuals or other individuals who are likely to get abused are unaware of these rules so, this becomes difficult for them to assert their rights or file grievances.
After the covid outbreak the situation of the Indian healthcare sector is infringing upon the world, Safety is becoming a big concern as a result of the sharp rise in costs, and the rise in reports of maltreatment, incorrect diagnoses, neglect, or medical errors. Now, this is the equally urgent need to bring effective methods of grievance redressal. the system of justice of medicine of India or consumer protection is plagued with delays and bizarre small penalties. as the condition of predominant classes is deteriorating the perspective of the money-oriented hospitals needs to be changed. our countries culture stands in the social marvel, the medical sector is a social organization and can not be solely concentrated on profit making.
Author(s) Name: Mimansa Arya (Nirma Law University)