The Mizoram government on Thursday came under attack over its new rule as per which the private hospitals need to obtain prior permission for collecting blood bags from government-run blood banks.
The new rule, which came into effect from January 6, has been seen as a discriminatory move by the opposition and some groups to restrict private or non-empanelled hospitals so that they agree to implement the state healthcare scheme.
Mizoram Youth Congress president Dr. Lalmalsawma Nghaka while addressing a press conference at Aizawl, said, “The state government recently issued a notification according to which private hospitals have to obtain prior permission from the director of hospital and medical education before seeking blood bags from the Aizawl Civil Hospital.”
Nghaka alleged that the rule has been formulated to compel the private or non-impanelled hospitals to implement the government healthcare scheme.
He said many patients and private hospitals are facing inconvenience in obtaining blood bags from government-run hospitals following the new rule.
Citing that patients will face further problems in emergency cases, he urged the state government to clarify how it will issue blood bags in such cases.
Nghaka further alleged the government employees and healthcare beneficiaries could not claim medical reimbursement for their expenses incurred in private hospitals due to suspension of empanelment.
The Non-Governmental Hospital Association of Mizoram and the Association for Voluntary Blood Donation (AVBD) also asked the state government to bring back the old rule so that private hospitals and patients face no inconvenience.
They said that the new rule, if put into force for a long period, will result in the loss of many lives due to the inability to receive blood in time.
Meanwhile, the state government denied that the rule is an attempt to restrict private hospitals in obtaining blood bags.
Health deputy secretary Lalngura Tlau said the rule neither seeks to restrict private hospitals nor it is an attempt to force them to implement the government healthcare scheme.
He said the rule was being put into force to streamline the distribution of blood bags against the existing rule as per which blood bags were issued by officials of blood banks on their own.
In December, the state government suspended the empanelment of 15 private hospitals for allegedly refusing to implement the State Health Care Scheme.
The official said additional beds are being installed in all government hospitals and urban health centres to avoid shortage of beds.
At least 100 additional beds will be added to the existing 250 beds in the state’s lone medical college – Zoram Medical College (ZMC) – within this month and the government is making all-out efforts to bring a solution to the manpower crunch.
So far, 16 private hospitals have agreed to implement the state healthcare scheme.
The state government started implementing the state healthcare scheme on October 1 last year, according to which beneficiaries are given health insurance to the tune of Rs 2 lakh in a year.