MATUNGA, AUGUST 01, 2012: Don Bosco Development Society organized a one day workshop on July 31, 2012, at Don Bosco Provincial House, on the rights of an individual as a patient. The workshop was attended by 25 participants including staff, SHG leaders and community leaders. The sessions focused on rights that can be utilized when a patient seeks medical treatment in a hospital. Often the patient is at the mercy of the doctors and is charged heavily for the treatment which could have been avoided or reduced by utilizing the rights. Patients can demand financial help from hospitals whether government or private from the following mandatory funds: Poor Box Charity Fund in Government Hospitals and Indigent Patients Fund in Private Hospitals which are registered as trusts.
The resource persons explained to the participants that every hospital is required to allocate two percent of its annual income to these funds for the benefit of poor patients. The poor and lower middle class people can avail of the following benefits from the hospitals:
For BPL patients (annual income below Rs 25,000): 10% beds are to be reserved free of charge for such patients and they can also avail of free medicines and treatment
Financially weaker patients (annual income between Rs.25,000 to Rs. 50,000): 10% beds are to be reserved at concessional rates for such patients and they can avail of medicines and treatment at 50% discount.
Any patient can avail of these facilities by filling up the appropriate form and contacting the doctor or the medical social worker along with proof of income (income certificate or ration card). Further, financial assistance is also available from various funds, such as PM fund, CM fund, Mayor’s fund etc. The speakers also pointed out that a patient, who is in a critical condition, has every right to get emergency treatment, irrespective of any legal or financial consideration, till his condition stabilizes. In case the patients face problems, they should use the grievance redressal cell and approach the concerned doctor, medical social worker or Dean of the hospital. Addressing the participants at the close of the workshop, Fr. Savio Silveira stressed the need of creating awareness regarding patient’s rights, among people in the slum communities where DBDS works. He also asked the staff and leaders present to take appropriate steps to ensure that the poor people, who cannot afford medical treatment, can avail of their entitlements whenever necessary. DBDS is currently working on several governance issues in various slum communities in Mumbai.