The air is abuzz with more and more people expressing their disenchantment about the soaring costs of medicare in general and the hospital bills in particular. A widely circulated broadsheet has just published a feature on the plight of patients under the eye-catching caption Hospitals prefer profit over patients. At the time of formally awarding the medical degree during the annual convocation of the Universities, doctors are exclusively administered the Hippocratic Oath requiring the Physicians to treat the ill to the best of one’s ability. If the ability of a Physician to diagnose the illness and its underlying factors falls short of the purpose of seeking medicare, it calls for a detailed insight, pinpointing the shortcomings of the system of training doctors and focus on their rectification on the lines of treating illness.
In Mysuru of yesteryears with a headcount of residents less than half of what it is today, both the number of doctors and incidents of illness needing hospitalisation were a mere fraction of what they are in our times. Choice of medicines, before the ubiquitous antibiotics came, was mercifully limited. The few doctors of private clinics and Physicians in the two main hospitals then were sought by their captive families seeking medicare for their kin, known for their hasthaguna.
Medicare, in terms of the related infrastructure, services and professionals has witnessed a scenario in our times that bears no resemblance to what it used to be until just a few decades ago. Both government and private players have invested funds in considerable amounts to create state-of-the-art facilities particularly in urban spaces. The bone of contention that the tariff in privately managed hospitals is exorbitant to the extent of not being within the reach of families seeking medicare while the charges in Government Hospitals are within reasonable limits opens a debate on whether the accusation cited at the beginning of this column is rather harsh and untenable. The central point of the debate is that the revenue for Government Hospitals is sourced to public funds while that for private hospitals has to be met by families of patients.
Coming to the point, people struck by illness have to run to the Physician as a matter of expediency. Every would-be patient has to mull over the factor of neglecting the time-honoured do’s and don’ts to be wary of factors causing illness. Not complying with the rules of the game of healthcare and forced to spend on medicare is not only the price of neglect but also a penalty.