Discontent is brewing at Indian Medical Association (IMA) as members across Maharashtra have come out strongly against the “impractical” amendments to the nursing home registration rules with a majority threatening that at least 90 per cent of hospitals would be forced to shut down. In a letter sent to Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on June 17, the IMA said the amendments are impractical and impossible to comply with.
“There are approximately 25,000 small and large nursing homes in Maharashtra and time and again we have raised several objections after the notification was issued last year in January,” Dr Mangesh Pate, honorary secretary, IMA, Maharashtra told The Indian Express.
As per the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Registration (Amendment) Rules, 2021, notification issued on January 14, 2021, the fees for the registration and renewal have been revised to Rs 5,000 for a Grade A nursing home (within municipal corporation limits), Rs 4,500 for Grade B nursing home and so on.
In the council, nagar panchayat and village panchayat or any other rural area, nursing homes with more than five beds will be charged for every additional bed. Minimum standard norms have been enlisted in the notification for the physical structure of a nursing home apart from the staffing pattern.
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“The government needs to take into account the opinion of service providers and their concerns. We requested a meeting with the concerned authorities on January 18 last year and it was postponed due to the pandemic. A meeting was held on April 6 this year and we have requested another meeting with Health Minister Rajesh Tope on this issue,” Dr Suhas Pingle, IMA president Maharashtra, said.
Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of the Hospital Board of India – Pune Chapter, told The Indian Express that there are so many clauses designed in such a way in the amendment notification that it would not be surprising if 90 per cent of the hospitals shut down.
IMA members pointed out that while issues of fire safety, bio-medical waste disposal, structural audit and other procedures are relevant, they are being unfortunately linked with the registration process of a nursing home.
“In spite of our repeated requests and representations, no steps have been taken up to safeguard all hospitals in the state of Maharashtra. We at Indian Medical Association Maharashtra state feel that we will be compelled to withdraw healthcare services from all hospitals in the state following no response from the government to safeguard the hospitals in the state,” the letter stated further requesting the minister to immediately withdraw the notification.