In the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, small and medium-sized nursing homes and clinics are up in arms against the to-be -introduced 'Medical Registration Act'.
The act which aims to regulate corporate hospitals, nursing homes and clinics stipulates that there must be at least three doctors in a 10 to 20 bedded nursing home or a clinic. It also calls for mandatory disclosure of surgery charges and out-patient charges. It seeks structural changes in the buildings where these clinics and nursing homes are housed, too.
Doctors who own such small nursing homes and clinic protest that while such changes could be easy to implement in well-heeled corporate hospitals, the same is not economically feasible in smaller clinics and nursing homes.
"Most of the clinics and nursing homes do not have the wherewithal to engage three doctors. Even if they do, at the end of the day, the maintenance cost would obviously be levied on the end user," says President for Andhra Pradesh Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (APNA) Y. Ravinder Rao.
In the twin cities there is a count of 650 nursing homes and clinics registered with APNA. Another 400 facilities are not registered with the body.
"80 per cent of these nursing homes and clinics are run on rental basis. It would be difficult to make structural changes like providing adequate space for parking ambulances etc. Even if we set aside Rs. 30,000 to pay for three doctors, it would be impossible to sustain such huge spending in small clinics and nursing homes," counters the President for APNA (Twin Cities) V. S. Rao.
The Act also makes it compulsory to display the existing rates of all facilities at a nursing home.
The doctors draw attention to the fact that while room rents, laboratory charges, ambulance rates etc., can be displayed in the premises, disclosing surgery costs publicly is risky. "In case of unforeseen circumstances while conducting a surgery, charges may fluctuate. Displaying surgery rates thus can become disputable," says Dr. Y. Ravinder Rao.
The APNA members are expected to meet the Chief Secretary of Health, Medical and Family Welfare to talk over the issue. "A meeting has been fixed and we would put across the practical problems the small nursing homes and clinics would face once this Act comes into force," Ravinder Rao adds.