Right to Health Bill #(RTH)-Rajasthan – An imposed unfair, undemocratic dictate for doctors?

Will Rajasthan’s Right to health bill do more harm than Good

       In the new ‘ Right to Health- Bill- Rajasthan’,   because of government inability to provide basic and essential services, private hospitals are dictated to render services.  As services at Government hospitals are inadequate and have failed to provide facilities to handle the emergencies.  Since the patients cannot be left without treatment, provision  for  emergency services should be made available to country’s population. That is the Government’s duty which the administrators have failed to fulfil.  Therefore co-operation from private sector is expected, but it should be sought as help rather than an imposed dictate. This act, though may have a noble intention in mind, should be analysed by all stakeholders in an objective manners.  

        • Will government render some support in any manner to private health organizations, which they may need genuinely in order to do this difficult task, as  the Government itself has been unable to do in so many years?

       • In order to provide these essential services especially emergency and lifesaving, is government asking the private players for help for this noble cause or does this act simply dictates its wish onto the private players bulldozing their genuine concerns in doing so?

  • Will Government increase its’ own responsibility and accountability and  shoulder more  responsibility towards ‘Health to All’ or it is only for private doctors to provide?

        • Will government provide physical and legal protection to doctors and health establishments on the issues arising from the act?

         • Although the RTH looks like is a democratic action, but is it democratic to doctors and private health players as well? Are their genuine problems and views addressed and accommodated?

          • What are government’s plans in the long term to improve  such services? Does it plan to continue forcing the private setups (without ant help to them) or are there any plans to improve the government health facilities in future to a level commiserate with the need of the hour.

 Imposing such dictates will definitely force the aspiring doctors to think, whether   to choose  medical career or not.

Will Rajasthan’s Right to health bill do more harm than Good

The Rajasthan government’s proposed right to health bill has landed in deep controversy due to objections from the private healthcare sector, which is dishonouring as a part of the protests the provision of cashless treatment under existing state-run schemes. The draft bill has been criticised as a hasty job that overlooks ground realities and suffers from lacunae that the Ashok Gehlot government is apparently resisting taking note of.

Chief minister Gehlot, on February 17, urged private hospitals to end their boycott of the Chiranjeevi scheme and the Rajasthan Government Health Scheme (RGHS), which provide mostly cashless treatment to private individuals and government employees, respectively, terming it improper on humanitarian grounds. “The private sector has a role to play in making Rajasthan a model state in healthcare, and we will clarify all doubts of private hospitals about the right to health bill,” Gehlot said. It remains to be seen if his appeal has any impact, given that private doctors’ associations have accused the government of intimidating private hospitals to end the boycott of the bill.

Social activists backing the bill have opened a separate front by criticising private hospitals for opposing the proposed legislation. The moot question is this: Does right to health only include private healthcare, which the bill aims at, or also things like potable water, clean air, unadulterated edibles and quality roads? In short, factors determining a healthy life but excluded from the ambit of the proposed law.

The bill has been in the pipeline for some months now. It was tabled in the state assembly in September 2022 but referred to a select committee subsequently because the Opposition and doctors’ fraternity wanted it be debated thoroughly. On February 15, the select committee deferred its scheduled meeting as private doctors threatened to step up their stir against the bill. Earlier, the state government had expressed its resolve to push ahead with passage of the bill.

A key contentious point in the bill is that no medical facility—whether government or private—can deny a patient ‘emergency’ care. The bill, however, falls short of defining ‘emergency condition’ and how the cost of treatment is to be reimbursed to private hospitals. Private doctors and private medical institutions feel the bill will give extraordinary powers to designated government officials to enter their premises and harass them.

Rajasthan has been witnessing a sharp rise in patient-doctor conflicts, both in government hospitals where doctors are accused of negligence as well as private medical facilities, which are accused of charging patients exorbitantly. Critics of the bill say it fails to address the concerns of doctors. Initially, private doctors had protested against the clause to compulsorily provide ‘emergency’ care to patients. They cited various aspects of their concern, such as someone with even a minor injury demanding emergency treatment at a hospital or a person suffering a heart attack approaching a hospital or nursing home that lacks facilities to deal with such a case.

As details of the draft bill emerged, there was also apprehension in the private healthcare sector that the bill may become a tool to bring ‘inspector raj’ into the medical sector. “Once you give officials open access to enter our premises, it is bound to be misused. The bill is a ploy of bureaucrats to control the private medical sector,” alleges Dr Vijay Kapoor, secretary, Private Hospitals and Nursing Home Societies, Jaipur. Highlighting ‘discrepancies’ in the bill, Kapoor points out that while a person who wheels in an accident victim to a hospital is entitled to a reward of Rs 5,000, the bill is silent on how the hospital would be reimbursed for treating the patient. “The bill

Private hospitals have been the backbone of the Gehlot government’s flagship Chiranjeevi scheme, under which beneficiaries are entitled to free treatment worth up to Rs 25 lakh in government and affiliated private hospitals. The scheme has been hit by the alleged refusal of many private hospitals to admit patients—as a symbol of protest against the right to health bill.

The Chiranjeevi scheme allows private hospitals to bill patients for certain costs incurred so as to partially compensate for the high cost of diagnostics  and treatment. Private hospitals expect a similar consideration in the right to health bill, besides widening the scope of factors determining ‘healthy life’.

Some doctors wonder if a separate bill like this was necessary at all since right to health was enshrined as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. Moreover, private doctors say they hardly have any representation in the various committees proposed to implement the provisions of the bill, grassroots level up.

Social activists like Nikhil Dey of the Rajasthan Soochna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan and Kavita Srivastava of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) are dismissive of the opposition to the bill. “It cannot be acceptable that the life of a rich individual is saved but not of a poor for want of money,” says Dey. Srivastava adds that while some objections of doctors could be genuine, the bill cannot be rejected outright.

Private doctors claim schemes to provide healthcare through the private sector under insurance coverage by the state government have been marred by corruption. “Hefty bribes are sought for empanelment of hospitals under these schemes, reimbursement of claims and settlement of complaints if any,” alleges Kapoor.

With more and more private hospitals allegedly refusing cashless treatment to private individuals and government employees under state-run health schemes, patients are suffering. Besides, given the accusation that officials demand bribes and some government doctors patronise certain private hospitals, Gehlot’s right to health bill appears caught in rough weather, all the more since it’s perceived as been hastily drafted.

     Advantages-Disadvantage of being a doctor

     25 factors- why health care is expensive

REEL Heroes Vs Real Heroes

 21 occupational risks to doctors and nurses

Covid paradox: salary cut for doctors other paid at home

   Medical-Consumer protection Act- Pros and Cons

Expensive Medical College  seat- Is it worth it?

NEET- Not so Neat- percentile system

The  Myth  of  cost of  spending  on  medical  education needs to be made  transparent.

Exorbitantly expensive medical education and lowered merit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: