West Bengal: Private Hospitals To Admit Pre-Registered Pregnant Women Who Are COVID-19 Positive
After the Delhi government ruled out mandatory coronavirus testing for a pregnant woman before admission, private hospitals in West Bengal will now admit a pre-registered pregnant woman even if she tests positive days before the delivery. No hospitals, both private and state-run can deny the admission to a patient, including a pregnant woman, on the grounds of being COVID-19 positive. The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) confirmed this in a health care advisory issued on Monday.
The advisory has been issued after a number of cases of pregnant women being denied treatment on the grounds of being COVID-19 positive surfaced. These women were denied service during the delivery by the gynaecologists they have been consulting since the gestation period. “This is unfair and could have been avoided. Therefore the advisory is addressing the issue,” said Ashim Kumar Banerjee, the chairman of the commission, as quoted by TOI.
The Advisory In Detail
The commission issued an advisory refraining the private and the state-run hospitals from denying service to the pre-registered pregnant woman at the last moment. The advisory however also mentioned that the time when expecting mothers come to the hospitals for the first check-up after conceiving, the hospital can inform them that their admission might be denied if they test COVID-19 positive later.
The advisory said that the hospital should give the expecting mother, “a caution and/or information in a printed form documented by obtaining the signature of the patient and/or the patient party to the effect,” stating that, “the clinical establishment would refuse admission in case the patient would turn COVID-19 positive, even if asymptomatic.”
If Hospitals Aren’t Equipped To Treat COVID-19 Patient, Shift To Other Hospital
Moreover, the advisory also said that the hospitals cannot deny the admission of a patient, including a pregnant woman, just because they lack the adequate infrastructure for treating COVID patients.
If at all a hospital isn’t equipped to treat a COVID-19 patient, the advisory said, “Such clinical establishment must obtain a prior certificate agreeing unanimously by the gynaecologists enrolled with them (that) their infrastructure would not support any treatment to the patient when she is COVID-19 positive.” This should be established when the woman comes for the first check-up.
And in case of a pre-registered pregnant woman who tests positive, such hospitals should make arrangements to shift the woman to another equipped private hospital. The patient should be offered three choices and arrangements should be made to shift her to the hospital of her choice.
Regulation On The Billing Amount
The advisory also regulated the billing procedure. The private hospital that agrees to admit a COVID-19 positive pregnant woman will be entitled to bill an additional amount for treating coronavirus, other than the delivery package offered to the patient. But the additional amount should not exceed the amount fixed by the government’s guidelines.
If the patient doesn’t agree to the three choices of private hospitals offered by the less equipped private hospitals, the authorities should take the measures to shift her to an adequate facility. The transportation charge will be paid by the patient.
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