Maharahstra IMA slams government for low Covid treatment rates

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on September 14, 2020

Member-doctors will surrender licences in protest, association to seek legal recourse

Members of Maharashtra unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) who are running their own hospitals, have from Tuesday onwards decided to surrender their licences to the State government as they find running operations financially unviable due to the current rates of Covid treatment, fixed by the State Government.

Pankaj Bhandarkar, Secretary of IMA (Maharashtra), said that apathy from bureaucrats coupled with unaffordable rates forced by the State government has led to a skyrocketing of expenses for the small and medium-sized private hospitals.

The Maharashtra government ‘unilaterally’ came out with the new rates on August 31 and made the previous rates more stringent. The IMA protested this notification in an emergency State council meeting on September 4 and commenced its agitation, Bhandarkar said.

IMA (Maharashtra) with its 45,000 members is a voluntary organisation of doctors. These Allopathic doctors are at the forefront of the fight against Covid pandemic.

Avinash Bhondwe, President of IMA (Maharashtra), said that the organisation will also approach the Bombay High Court this week with a petition challenging the State Government order, which has capped the treatment rates of Covid patients in the hospitals. It will also challenge the order under the Epidemic Act.

He said that the petition will question the State government’s right to fix the rate for any profession, even under the Epidemic Act. It will bring to the notice of the Court that the rates have been fixed without discussing with the IMA. In the neighbouring States of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the per day room rates and oxygen bed rates are much higher in private hospitals. “In Maharashtra, the rates of milk and sugarcane are fixed only after consulting with farmers and other stakeholders, then why doctors were kept out of the consultation process for treatment rates?” he asked.

Bhondwe added that the per kg cost of disposing of biomedical waste has increased by three times; additionally, the hospitals have to pay another ₹17,000 as transportation charges, which is unjust.

Published on September 14, 2020

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