Apr 21, 2019

Maximum charges for treatment at private hospitals, gazette soon

The Health Ministry will soon gazette maximum charges for medical and surgical procedures at private hospitals, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday.

Accordingly, maximum charges will be gazetted for 48 procedures and private hospitals will be required by law to adhere to them. These will cover charges for surgery, including heart operations, scans and lab tests.

Dr Senaratne said the gazette had been held up after several private hospitals filed legal action. “The courts, however, have not issued a stay order against us publishing the gazette. As such, we will take steps to inform the courts through the Attorney General’s Department and issue the gazette within a month, as this has been delayed long enough,” he said. The minister insisted there was nothing wrong with the gazette and that it would be published invoking provisions of the Private Medical Institutions (Registration) Act.

He said that gazetting maximum charges would enable patients to assess how much they would have to pay for treatments and tests.

Dr. Senaratne said there had been numerous complaints regarding private hospitals charging exorbitant amounts from patients for even minor operations and tests. He said the gazette notification would legally prohibit such practices.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry from today issue “e-Health Cards” to patients.

Dr Senaratne said e-card would contain a chip that could store a patient’s medical history and reports. The minister said this would help avoid misdiagnosis.

- The Sunday Times