The Maharashtra government told the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday that fungal ailment mucormycosis was now covered under the Mahatma Jotiba Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Citizens will receive free treatment for mucormycosis at pre-identified hospitals and nursing homes across Maharashtra under the above schemes, the state said.
The Maharashtra government told a bench of Justices R V Ghuge and B U Debadwar that it had identified 130 hospitals across the state for treating anti-fungal ailments and citizens, even those who did not hold cards for the insurance schemes mentioned above, could avail the treatment for mucormycosis at these facilities free of cost.
The state said 1,000 more hospitals would be empanelled for treating mucormycosis under the above two schemes soon.
The government said anti-fungal medicines required for treating mucormycosis will be provided free of cost to patients admitted in these hospitals and private hospitals will also be restrained from "raising astronomical bills".
The government said it was also working on capping the cost of the treatment for mucormycosis at private hospitals in the state.
A Government Resolution (GR) issued on May 18 this year notified the above submissions, the state said.
The bench accepted the state's submissions and directed it to publicise the GR.
"It is thus, apparent that the state of Maharashtra has come up with a specific policy to treat mucormycosis. Private hospitals too will be restrained from raising astronomical bills. We, therefore, expect the state government to accord wide publicity to this policy so that the poorest of poor, the illiterate and semi-literate and persons in remote and tribal areas become aware of the same," the HC said.
"Needless to state that the list of hospitals identified for such treatment and through which medicines will be made available also be given wide publicity so that patients do not land at wrong hospitals for availing the treatment for mucormycosis," it said.
The court directed such hospitals to display instructions for the public about the availability of beds and medicines.
It will continue the hearing on Tuesday.
The Union health ministry recently urged the states and Union Territories to make cases of black fungal infection or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients.
In a letter, the ministry said in recent times, a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection ‒ mucormycosis ‒ has emerged and has been reported among COVID-19 patients in many states, especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control.
(With PTI inputs)