Private Hospitals being fined by Delhi Government for refusing free treatment to poor

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NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party government has ordered five top private hospitals in Delhi to deposit "unwarranted profits" of more than Rs 600 crore made by denying treatment to the poor. These Includes Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), the government order says Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute were allotted land at concessional rates on the condition that they treat the poor for free, but failed to do so.

"These hospitals did not abide by the conditions, hence action has been initiated against them," said Dr Hem Prakash, additional director (EWS) of the Delhi government. Officials said further action would be taken if the hospitals failed to deposit the amount within a month. Dr Hem Prakash, additional director (EWS) of the Delhi government, said the demand for depositing Rs 600 crore follows notices sent to the hospitals to explain their failure to treat the needy.

 Earlier in December 2015, sent notices to these hospitals seeking their explanation as to why they failed to treat the poor and why they should not be fined. But none of them gave satisfactory replies so we initiated action against them," said Prakash. "The penalty has been imposed on the basis of a High Court order passed in 2007 on a PIL demanding implementation of the provision of free treatment to poor and action against the erring hospitals. And the fine amount has been calculated accordingly," he said. The hospitals have been asked to pay the amount by July 9, failing which further action will be initiated against them. Total 43 private hospitals in Delhi were allotted land at concessional rates on the condition that they will keep 10 per cent of their in-patient department capacity and 25 per cent of out-patient department capacity to treat EWS patients free of cost. Fortis Healthcare's subsidiary Escort Heart Institute and Research Centre has received an order to deposit Rs 503.36 crore for non-compliance of conditions of land allotment lease.

Advocate Ashok Agarwal, a member of the high court appointed committee monitoring the matter, said most hospitals were allotted land between 1960 and 1990. "The recovery amount has been calculated from the date when the hospital became operational to March 22, 2007, when the high court passed final orders on a PIL demanding implementation of the provision of free treatment to poor and action against the erring hospitals," he said. Citing the Delhi high court order, Agarwal said, "There is no justification whatsoever on the part of the general, specialty or super-specialty hospitals not to comply with the mandate of the condition.

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