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License of private hosps to be cancelled if not empanelled under Swasthya Sathi

License of private hosps to be cancelled if not empanelled under Swasthya Sathi
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Kolkata: The state Health department on Tuesday issued a notification saying that private hospitals or nursing homes may face cancellation of license if they refuse to empanel themselves under Swasthya Sathi or deny treatment to a patient having a Swasthya Sathi card.

The Health department's notification says that the entire population of the state must be given health coverage under Swasthya Sathi, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

"It is brought to the notice of all hospitals and nursing homes that non-empanelment under Swasthya Sathi scheme or refusing treatment to the Swasthya Sathi patients shall be treated as a violation of clause (v) and (w) of subsection 3 of section 7 of the West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Act, 2017 which may lead to cancellation/revocation or non-renewal of CE license of that hospital/nursing home," reads the notification.

The decision has been taken to ensure that not a single patient is denied treatment by any hospital across the state. The Chief Minister earlier warned stringent action, including cancellation of license of private hospitals, against the refusal of Swasthya Sathi cards and harassment of patients. She had also urged the Swasthya Sathi card-holders to lodge FIRs if a private hospital refuses treatment to a patient.

The Health department also mandated that all private hospitals in the state with minimum indoor bed strength of 10 and above have to empanel themselves under the Swasthya Sathi scheme. As per the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act all registered clinical establishments have to take part in the state programme. "The clinical establishments shall actively participate in the implementation of all National and State Health programmes," maintained the Health department.

The doctors' fraternity in the state has welcomed the move taken by the state government as it will fix accountability on private health establishments. Dr Santanu Dutta, assistant professor of the CTVS department in SSKM Hospital, said that the decision will immensely help patients as they will get treatment at all the private hospitals. Nobody can deny treatment. There have been instances in the recent past where private hospitals have denied treatment to patients having Swasthya Sathi cards.

Following the recent announcement by the Chief Minister, Swasthya Sathi — the flagship health scheme of Bengal — has attained the height of universal health coverage as all the private hospitals now have to treat patients in all disciplines.

Under the Swasthya Sathi scheme, members get free treatment worth Rs 5 lakh. They may go to big hospitals like AIIMS or Christian Medical College, Vellore to avail this facility. However, in Ayushman Bharat, members will have to dish out Rs 150 to get the card and above all the Centre will bear 60 per cent of the expenditure while the remaining 40 per cent will have to be given by the state government. But under Swasthya Sathi, the health facilities are extended completely free of cost.

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