While the Chief Minister Medical Assistance Cell is working on extending monetary assistance to poor patients in need, a new medical cell under state’s deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will now work to ensure a bed for poor patients at charitable hospitals run by trusts.
Maharashtra has over 468 charitable hospitals. As per provisions under Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950 and Bombay High Court orders, around 10 per cent of the total beds in these hospitals should be kept reserved for poor patients with free treatment, and 10 per cent beds for treatment at concessional rates. The total number of beds that can be made available under this is around 11,000.
“Despite this, we’re getting numerous complaints from across the state that hospitals are not following orders for the poorer sections of society. It was also observed that beds were not made available through a transparent system,” said Rameshwar Naik, who has been appointed as the head of the new cell. Those with annual income upto Rs 1.80 lakh will get free treatment and those with income between Rs 1.80 lakh to Rs 3.60 lakh will get the treatment at 50% cost.
Naik said the CM Medical Assistance cell and this one are two different bodies, and this has not been done to overpower the other.
Since the subject ‘charity’ falls under the Law and Judiciary department, Fadnavis who handles it, had directed to form a committee in July 2023 for effective implementation. The special cell will work under this department. All previous decisions, except for those from the Law and Judiciary, regarding availability of beds in charitable hospitals have been cancelled and all power is now centralised with the new cell.
“The cell will coordinate availability of beds across the state. A needy patient can apply to the charitable hospital concerned. In case of no response, the Medical College nearby, charity commissioner or collector’s office can be contacted. The cell can also be contacted in case of non-cooperation and a bed will be made available within 72 hours,” said Naik.
The documents required will be —an application from a patient or public representative, Aadhaar Card, Ration card, Income proof from Tehsildar and doctor’s prescription.