Some doctors spreading misinformation about RTH Bill, says Rajasthan government

Objections raised by medical community have been addressed in the bill.

March 30, 2023, 10:30 am

rth protest selling vegetables

Doctors selling vegetables in protest of Right to Health Bill in Jaipur.

JAIPUR: Rajasthan government says that some doctors are spreading baseless misinformation about the Right to Health Bill. 

In a press release, the government says that the bill was introduced with the humanitarian goal of ensuring that no individual suffers due to the lack of medical treatment.

There were some objections from the medical community regarding the original draft of the bill. However, the bill has been amended based on suggestions received during various meetings with representatives from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other members of the medical community. It has been passed unanimously by both the ruling and opposition members in the state assembly.

The original bill did not define emergency situations, but the amended bill addresses this concern of the doctors. At the request of IMA members, emergencies such as accidents, snakebites, animal bites, and other emergency situations defined by the State Health Authority have been included.

The bill now also includes provisions for accident-induced emergencies, designated healthcare centers, emergency maternity care, primary treatment, stabilization, and transportation, which were added based on the request of the IMA.

According to the state government, the original bill did not mention the reimbursement of treatment in emergency situations. The amended bill includes a provision stating that if a patient is unable to pay the medical institution after receiving emergency treatment, the state government will reimburse the expenses. Similarly, the original bill did not mention the rights and duties of citizens and medical personnel. The amended bill incorporates the rights, duties, and responsibilities of medical personnel and citizens, which will also be defined in the rules.

“The state government is committed to implementing the Right to Health Bill in a way that addresses the concerns of the medical community and provides better healthcare facilities to citizens,” the press note says. 

To ensure proper implementation of the Right to Health Act, three authorities have been formed, two at the state level and one at the district level. Two members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have been included in the state-level authority. The state-level Treatment Authority has been established under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor of Rajasthan Health Science University, which also includes two IMA physician members.

The original bill did not provide for a grievance redressal mechanism for medical institutions, but the amended bill includes a provision for medical institutions to resolve complaints within three days. If the medical institution does not resolve the complaint within three days, it will be sent to the district-level authority.

The original bill did not grant the right to hearings in civil court, but the amended bill has included a provision for hearings in civil court. According to the state government, there is no provision in the bill that goes against the interests of physicians or private medical institutions. Some physicians are spreading misinformation about the old draft of the bill through media and other channels.

For example, it is being propagated that a heart attack patient would receive treatment in an eye hospital, while the bill clearly states that hospitals are only required to provide treatment according to their level, meaning eye hospitals will only treat eye-related issues. Similarly, it is being propagated that the Right to Health is unnecessary due to the existence of Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, Chief Minister’s Free Medicine Scheme, and Free Diagnostic Scheme, whereas the implementation of the Right to Health in the state will guarantee citizens access to healthcare facilities.

The state government has appealed to physicians to step forward and cooperate in the successful implementation of the Right to Health, introduced with the sentiment of public service so that the prestige of this noble profession of human service can be further enhanced.

First published: March 30, 2023