The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government has imposed a fine of Rs 700 crore on five private city hospitals for denying free treatment to poor patients.
The five hospitals — Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute — were given lands at concessional rates between 1960 and 1990 on a condition that 10 per cent of all the patients admitted to private hospitals must be poor and treated free of cost, reported Hindustan Times.
According to the norms, the hospitals also should reserve 25 per cent of OPD services to poor people belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) without charging them.
According to Dr Hem Prakash, additional director (EWS) in Health Department, these five hospitals flouted the rules. When legal notices were sent to them in December last year, they could not give valid reasons on why they should not be fined.
“The money recovered would be used to set up a corpus fund to be used for Delhi’s health sector,” said Dr Prakash to Hindustan Times.
In March 2007, the Delhi high court gave its ruling on a PIL that private hospitals should be fined for earning profits from beds reserved for poor patients.
Among the five hospitals, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute will have to pay the biggest sum of Rs 503 crore.
Across 42 private hospitals in Delhi, there are 640 beds reserved for people from EWS. though 60 to 70 per cent of these beds remain usually occupied, there are several hospitals who are regular defaulters.
The Logical Indian supports the Delhi government on imposing the fines. Since these hospitals were benefited to treat poor people without any charges, they have to pay the fines for going against the norms.
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