Recommending costly unwanted tests and prescribing costly medicines is common practice. In case patient is either a govt. servant or has medical insurance, then his medical bill is inflated. In both the cases patients need not to pay money from their pocket. So it is easy for the owners of private hospitals to prolong the treatment. Scam of removal of uterus of poor women under below poverty line in Chhatishgrh and Bihar for getting insurance money has recently hit the media headlines.
Admittedly, that treatment at a private hospital and that too having five star facilities will be much higher than at the govt. hospital. But over-diagnosing is unethical and against the medical practice. Interestingly and shockingly, the demand for regulations of services of the five star hospitals have come not from the Indian govt which is supposed to act on this issue but from the World Health Organization, which has clarified that although it is not a moral police suggesting the idea. There is chain of five star and even seven star private hospitals in the country. They provide five star facilities to their patients. Some even have helipads.
Even a large number of foreigners visits these hospitals for the treatment. Hospitals owners are powerful and influential hence govt. dares not speaking against their functioning. Politicians cutting across party lines, ministers, industrialists or stars are regular customers of these hospitals. A leading national English daily has come out with a article-on functioning and facilities of such hospitals with headline 'At 5-star hospitals, ask for the moon to get well soon'. The heading of the news itself is sufficient to indicate the services available there. The news report has mentioned that Rs.75.000 daily is the bill at presidential suit of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute. Rich do not mind paying for such huge amount for the services rendered by the hospitals. But what is shocking is the unethical of over diagnosing the patient.
The India chief of World Health Organization Nata Menabde has favored regulation of private hospitals and tax-based financing of universal health coverage proposed in the 12th Plan.Speaking at a conference recently organized here to discuss World Health Organizations's country cooperation strategy with India over the next five years till 2017, he said that the private sector in India is represented by five star hospitals and their services need to be regulated.
Menabde made it clear that WHO was not a health police but said it was involved in strengthening India's performance as a global leader in health sector.
On the vast unregulated private health delivery sector in India, she said "getting hold of the private health service provisions not regulated for decades is going to be a challenge. Complex strategies are needed to address the issue." He also advocated that Clinical Establishment Act, passed by the Parliament should be adopted by the states regretting that Only four of the states and UTs have ratified the law which seeks to regulate the high rates charged by private hospitals for different services they offer.
Menabde said "over-diagnosis" in private hospitals was a problem and so was "misuse of technology". The WHO India representative asked the government to raise the public financing of health as a percentage of GDP. "We have supported tax-based financing... The decision is in the hands of the government," she said. Raising the issue at social network Facebook, a reader Joy.C.Raephel, wrote that more and more of our docs are following our scamster-politicians.
"The other day, I had some teeth pain. So, I went to a dentist in the Virar suburb of Mumbai. After a cursory checkup, he told me I had a deep cavity and the treatment would cost Rs 2,500. I fixed an appointment for the next day and went to a lady dentist for a second opinion. No deep cavity, she told me. The teeth enamel had gone due to improper brushing, she added. The medicines and consultation fee cost me just Rs 300."
Jacob Kurian wrote that an M.P.from Kerla was dioganised cancer by a leading hospital in Cochinand was advised chemotherapy. Deffence minister A.K.Antony advised him to go for a second opinion and he did that. The second opinion was that there is no cancer and the problem was solved by a surgery.