The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs had recommended legal provisions for checking and controlling private hospitals.
- In a report submitted to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, the Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs called for a comprehensive public health act with proper legal provisions to keep activities of private hospitals under check during pandemic times.
- The law must also curb blac marketing of medicines.
- Several instances of private hospitals selling beds that are reserved for COVID-19 patients at exorbitant prices have been reported.
- Noting these malpractices by private hospitals, the committee has recommended a Public Health Act at the national level to restrain private hospitals from profiteering during emergencies like the pandemics.
- The Committee also pointed that the Act must also check black marketing and product standardisation.
- It also suggested that the Government must hold awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective re-purpose medicines to refrain people from spending huge amounts on expensive drugs.
- The committee also noted that during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance was not extended to COVID patients, which resulted in patients suffering due to exorbitant costs charged by private hospitals.
- To restrict this, the committee recommended for a regulatory oversight on hospitals and prevent them from refusing insurance claims.
- Further, it noted that the target should be to make treatment cashless for COVID 19 patients with an insurance cover.
- The committee appreciated the work of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) which had come out with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), awareness generation campaigns, and acted as a nodal agency for funding manpower deployment to meet exigences.
- Noting that the NDMA had handled the pandemic unlike any other natural disaster, the committee had recommended a separate wing to be formed within NDMA that will handle/manage pandemics in the future.
- This special wing may take the role of building partnerships between government and the corporates, public sector and NGOs and others.
- During the pandemic, the government has tried to alleviate the pandemic’s impact on the economy, the committee noted that several schemes have not been implemented properly.
- It pointed out that problems are being faced by farmers, non-corporates, non-farm small/micro businesses in getting loans.
On Migrant Labourers
- The committee stated that the migrants were the worst hit due to the pandemic.
- Lack of information and poor dissemination of information about food, shelter and other amenities, migrants labourers and workers had moved en masse to their home states.
- The committee recommended drawing up a national plan and guidelines under NDMA, 2005 and Epidemics Diseases Act 1897 for proper coordination between district authorities, states, UTs and the centre in the future.
- It also noted that locating and disbursing relief measures to migrants has also become a problem during the pandemic due to lack of a database on migrants.
- Thus, the committee recommended a national database on migrant workers which will help identify them and deliver ration and other benefits.
- It called for including details like source destination, earlier employment details, and nature of their skills.