The Right to Health (RTH) Bill, which was recently passed in the state assembly despite calls from medical professionals to have it rolled back, will be the target of a national black day on March 27 that will be observed nationwide, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which announced this on Saturday.
Thus, the Act, which grants rights to any person to access free care along with “emergency treatment” at any health institution in the state without prepayment, has been the target of protests from doctors across the state, including the Rajasthan chapter of the IMA.
Therefore, the RTH Bill was approved by the assembly on March 21, making Rajasthan the first state to ever create legislation defending patients’ rights to fair access to healthcare.
The Act forbids government and private hospitals from withholding care because any patient may receive free treatment at public health facilities. However, at public health facilities, medical facilities, and specialized healthcare facilities, patients may also receive “emergency treatment” without having to pay in advance. Also, a separate fund will be established for cost-free care in private hospitals.
Healthcare professionals have, however, objected to several Act passages where the word “medical emergency” has not been defined precisely and have questioned how the costs incurred by private hospitals will be compensated. Thus, they have also voiced opposition to the formation of a grievance committee to handle patient complaints.
Nonetheless, The IMA has urged all states to mark Black Day by donning black badges in support of the Rajasthani medical community. Additionally, it pushed the local branches to adopt a resolution opposing the RTH Act.