Association of Hospitals (AOH), one of the oldest associations in healthcare of Mumbai addressed the challenges and opportunities for Mumbai as a healthcare hub today. AOH observed that India showed at the 12th position on Medical Tourism Index in 2014. Also India ranked the lowest at the ‘Per Capita Health Expenditure’ in the list, standing last in this list comparing 24 cities. The spokespersons at the event commented on the ways and methods in which the healthcare delivery quotient of Mumbai could be improved.
Commenting on using the infrastructure pipeline of Trust Hospitals to boost medical services in the city, Dr. P.M. Bhujang, President, Association of Hospitals said, “Mumbai’s healthcare is catered by the member Trust Hospitals in the city, some of which are 100 years old having served the city with world-class medical technologies. One good way to make Mumbai a healthcare hub is that the government needs to promote Trust Hospitals. Government should encourage new Trust Hospitals by restoring concessions under 41AA. This will not only create new healthcare infrastructure but also allow older Trust Hospitals to continue flow of charitable activities to the indigent and weaker sections of society without financial constraints. Trust Hospitals are unique and they do not distinguish between rich and poor and everyone is treated equally. In fact the doctors, nurses, diagnostics services, therapeutic services, the operation theatres, critical care units and dialysis facilities are all common that remain the same for all classes. The Trust Hospitals model is among the most efficient ways of healthcare delivery that reached across a cross section of the society”
Mr. Gautam Khanna, Vice President of Association of Hospitals added, “Mumbai has the highest number of hospitals in India, but it must be understood that ‘access to healthcare’ needs to be balanced with Quality and availability of the best healthcare’. This is only possible if there is collaboration between government, philanthropic individuals, and healthcare experts. An amalgamation of such delivery in healthcare comes best in the form of Trust Hospitals”.
This is a model for the future.
Further adding on the work done by the AOH for indigent and weaker section of society Dr. Rajkumar Choudhary, Hon. Secretary, Association of Hospitals commented, “Healthcare access to all is essential. The data collected from AOH’s 27 member hospitals that could give data provide charitable medical services worth about Rs. 65 crores in a year in Mumbai. The AOH is mandated under current law to contribute 2% turnover to indigent and weaker sections. The charity of Trust Hospitals is divided into two categories, mandatory and discretionary. Further, the mandatory is divided into two categories billable and non-billable if you add all these categories, the total charity will range between 4% to 5% of the turnover of a Trust Hospitals”
Mr. N. Santhanam, Vice President, Association of Hospitals added, “Current schemes of government provide health insurance to various section of the society. However they have an upward limit of Rupees One Lakh Fifty Thousand for an entire family and many times this does not suffice for medium to complex diseases. The best way to give better healthcare access to weaker sections of society is to increase insurance cover amount and also to have a broader inclusion of weaker section of Mumbai under this scheme”
Dr. Tarang Gianchandani, Hon. Treasurer, Association of Hospitals further said, “There is a rapid advancement in medical technology constantly and which has pushed up the life expectancy of individuals. Use of drugs and upgraded methods of diagnosis are leading to healthier and happier lives.”The question is how to reduce the cost to the patient. This can be done by unanimous approach of government and healthcare institutions,(which are not for profit ) to use more of generic consumables and drugs after ensuring their quality standards.