The members of Association of Hospitals (AOH), one of the oldest associations in the healthcare space of Mumbai, spent about Rs 80 crores in providing treatment to poor patients in 2016 by setting aside at least two per cent of their annual turnover.
The initiative, started by the public charitable trust hospitals associated with AOH, is supported by an ‘Indigent Patient Fund’ as they are not receiving any grants or any exemption from government for the purpose.
“Our member hospitals have also provided treatment during major hazardous situations like bomb blasts, swine flu and other epidemics without any expectation of fees. All the charitable hospitals earlier used to get exemption from payment of property tax and Octroi to BMC as well as concession in the payment of electricity bills. These exemption and concession are not available for the many years now, but the member hospitals still and will continue to provide free and concessional treatment to poor patients,” said Dr PM Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals.
“Medical expenses are experiencing a steep rise in today’s age. It is very difficult for a common man to face expenses incurred due to uncalled medical emergencies. AOH members are giving and will continue to give the best medical treatments to the society to improve the overall healthcare standard of India,” he added.
Out of about more than 8,500 operational beds in the hospitals associated with AOH in Maharashtra, 20% are earmarked for the poor. Of these 20%, 10% beds are for patients availing treatment free of cost, 10% for patients availing treatment at a concessional rate.
The patient whose earning per year is up to Rs 50,000 are given free treatment and those whose earning is between Rs 50,000 and Rs 100,000 per year are given treatment at concessional rate.
Diagnostic facilities like laboratory tests and use of other equipment ranging for x-ray to all sophisticated equipment for CT scan and MRI are used for both paying patients as well as those availing charitable treatment.
The same doctors and surgeons, who treat the paying patients, also treat the poor patients. Thus, there is no discrimination between paying and poor patients in terms of doctors, medical facilities and equipment, according to AOH.