Delhi govt to recover Rs 203cr as fine from 5 pvt hospitals

Delhi government has tightened the noose around private hospitals that managed to obtain prime government land in the city by promising free treatment to poor patients but have completely denied the facility after getting the land. The government has started the procedure to recover around Rs 203 crore ‘unwarranted profits’ which they had earned by utilising beds reserved for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category patients on commercial rates.

“The recovery of unwarranted profits shall be made from five hospitals. For the time being, no recovery to be made from the other 15 hospitals as two committees appointed by the Delhi high court has found that these hospitals extended the EWS free treatment facility partially or fully,” said the minutes of the meeting (MOM) of six member Special Committee chaired by Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, Delhi government, on October 7. Millennium Post has possession of the MOM that was finalised on October 20. As per the decision, the ‘unwarranted profit’ will be recovered from a period when these hospitals were made operational till the financial year 2006-07, the date of judgment of Delhi high court. 

In its judgment on March 22, 2007, the Delhi high court had directed all the hospitals which were allocated government lands on concessional rates to reserve 10 per cent EWS beds and 25 per cent OPD services completely free for poor category patients in the city. The court had also directed to recover ‘unwarranted profits’ from those hospitals which were providing free treatment to EWS patients partially but the committee had exempted them.

As per the ‘unwarranted profits’ calculated by the health department, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre, Okhla, tops the list with Rs 105.97 crore followed by Shanti Mukund Hospital with Rs 36.31 crore. The committee also decided to give an opportunity of hearing to these hospitals before issuing final order for recovery of the dues.

“It’s more a matter of coordination between government health officers and private hospitals. The ‘identified’ private hospitals contended that they are ready to provide free hospitals but their seats went unused as government was not sending patients in appropriate numbers,” said Ashok Agarwal, member of the committee and eminent lawyer whose PIL culminated in the landmark decision. The committee also decided to decentralise monitoring of EWS services by constituting monitoring committees at district levels in which Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) and Director Health Services of the region will be members besides retaining Centralised EWS Beds Monitoring Committee. As per the recent data this month, around 33 per cent of EWS beds are lying vacant in 44 identified private hospitals which was just 8-10 per cent  during the outbreak of dengue in the city. 

Top Five Defaulters
Fortis Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre: Rs 105.97cr
Shanti Mukund Hospital: Rs 36.31cr
Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket (East-wing): Rs 32.18cr
Dharamshila Cancer Hospital & Cancer Institute: Rs 17.86cr
Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute: Rs 10.61cr
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