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Gujarat Health Minister to hospitals: Will clear pending dues soon

The issue was raised by Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) during a joint seminar conducted by AHNA and the Indian Institute of Management (IIMA) Sunday.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
October 11, 2021 1:47:49 am
Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel (Facebook/Rushikesh Patel)

Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel has assured private hospitals of quick action to settle pending dues of Covid-19 treatment, estimated to be over Rs 10 crore, at the earliest.

“I assure you that all your dues will be cleared and a backlog of bill payments to be done at the earliest. We, as a state government, function with open ears and minds,” Health Minister Rushikesh Patel assured while delivering his keynote address at a seminar at the Ahmedabad Management Association.

The issue was raised by Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA) during a joint seminar conducted by AHNA and the Indian Institute of Management (IIMA) Sunday.

Dr Manish Bhatnagar, an executive member of AHNA, raised the issue during his presentation on “learnings from the public private partnership (PPP) during Covid” as he said, “Unfortunately, a lot of AHNA members have not been able to get their dues from AMC cleared as of date, in spite of providing stellar service during the Covid crisis. This results in a trust deficit and will have long-term negative repercussions. This may impact society adversely if a third wave hits.”

It is estimated that of a total of Rs 80 crore, over Rs 10 crore dues are still pending to be reimbursed by the fund-starved Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to private hospitals against the Covid beds reserved for AMC referred patients. Private hospitals had reserved 20-50 per cent beds for AMC referred patients as per directions from time to time during the first and second Covid waves.

Prior to the health minister, Additional Chief Secretary Health Manoj Aggarwal, too, talked about the government’s role towards a healthy PPP model. He assured of resolving the issue of pending dues. “I have discussed with the health minister and will see what payments are due. We will hold meetings with concerned persons and officials to address this issue at the earliest,” he stated.

As per AHNA records, over 100 hospitals in Ahmedabad started Covid care through PPP offering over 11,118 Covid beds, among which over 6500 were oxygen beds. The hospitals treated over 47,500 Covid patients with a mortality rate of 1.78 per cent.

Raising the issue of lack of a dialogue between public and private sectors as experiences during the pandemic Dr Bhatnagar stated, “The private sector will do what it is paid to do. Therefore, performance parameters need to be clearly set in the contract or MoU which the government should honour in letter and spirit. It is disheartening when medical decisions are not made by people with the required medical credentials.”

During the seminar, IIMA director Prof Errol D’Souza stressed how, as per an estimate, 70 per cent of healthcare expenditure is made out of own pockets and how during the Covid pandemic the emphasis shifted to patients and not how and to what extent the healthcare workers were affected who were going through a lot of stress and tension.

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