Gurugram: A committee of a few Haryana Assembly legislators recently inspected the top super-specialities in Gurugram only to find that they were not treating the given number of poor patients for free, as per the government’s guidelines.
The inspection of these top healthcare institutions came after the authorities received complaints regarding poor patients who were not being treated at the hospitals properly. It was also alleged that the private hospitals in the area were also charging them instead of providing free treatment.
The “Subject Committee on education, technical education, vocational education, medical education and health services” headed by Umesh Aggarwal, the MLA from Gurugram performed the inspection. It had eight other legislators representing different constituencies of Haryana and three MLAs as special invitees.
These included MLAs Karan Singh Dalal, Kuldeep Sharma, Om Prakash Yadav, Ramchand Kamboj, Jasbir Deswal and Nasim Ahmad.
Before the visits, Gurugram Civil Surgeon B.K. Rajaura told the legislators during the committee meeting that when the state government allotted land to these hospitals on subsidized rates, an agreement was reached that 20% Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients had to be treated free of cost.
“Apart from this, another 10% EWS (economically weaker section) patients are also eligible for free treatment at these hospitals,” he said, adding all EWS patients were eligible for a 30% discount in super speciality hospitals.
With the inspections being carried out at the three super-speciality hospitals in the city, the committee asked several questions regarding transplant surgeries to which the hospitals reverted that transplants on foreign patients were few and far between, and donors accompanied the patients. The MLAs also inquired about other cases registered at the hospital.
“We have also sought information on the number of patients having undergone organ transplants for liver and kidney and the names of the donors. Besides, we have sought details of the number of caesarean section and normal deliveries and dengue patients in the three hospitals,” said Mr Dalal.
At Medanta-The Medicity, the MLAs observed that the EWS/BPL helpdesk was difficult to spot and signage informing patients of free treatment was small. The hospital responded by saying even though its helpdesk was located at the back, employees directed patients to respective desks, reports TOI.
The government officials recorded that only 118 EWS patients had been admitted to the hospital out of the total 64,000 in the inpatient departments in 2017.
Responding to the inspection, Medanta Chairman and MD Dr Naresh Trehan told TOI that a number of poor people, even if they were not BPL, were being granted free treatment at the hospital. He said it was not the hospital’s prerogative to find poor patients and treat them if enough such patients were not showing up. While the committee asked Trehan to carry out outreach programmes, Trehan asked the committee and civil surgeon to refer more EWS patients to the hospital.
Following the inspection of Medanta, Aggarwal told the IANS, “Many complaints were received about big hospitals not treating the poor properly and also charging them…. After inspection, it seems that these hospitals were not treating patients from BPL category or EWS in sufficient numbers,” he claimed.
In its defence, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) spokesperson claimed to the Indian Express, “FMRI complies with all regulatory requirements mandated by the Haryana government for providing multi-speciality hospital care to EWS/BPL category. A delegation of MLAs and senior government officials visited FMRI Gurugram and took around to check signages, discussed the admission process and also checked patient records. All signages were prominently displayed as per norm…”