The rate of providing free treatment to economically weaker section (EWS) category patients in OPDs ranges between 2% and 16% in the city’s prominent hospitals, in violation of norms, according to data collated by the Delhi Health Department, which has served showcause notices to eight private hospitals, including Max Saket and PSRI.
The January 18 notices, signed by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Nutan Mundeja, accuse the hospitals of indulging in “duplication” and sharing of “false and inflated” data with the department. The hospitals also stand accused of violations in treating EWS patients in in-patient departments (IPDs).
The government has now directed its liaison officers attached with every private hospital to maintain a register of every patient referred to the private facilities from government hospitals, so that violations are flagged as soon as they are committed. In its showcause notice to PSRI, the DGHS stated that going by data shared by authorities of the Saket-based medical facility, in 2018, the percentage of free OPD to EWS patients was 11%, much below the requisite 25% as stipulated by the HC and SC.
In case of Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, the showcause notice says data submitted pertaining to 2016 and 2017 with respect to free IPD and OPD facilities to EWS patients was examined by the DGHS, and “various discrepancies and duplication” were found. In a statement, Max Healthcare authorities said: “We received a routine query from DGHS and responded to the authority. Max Healthcare is completely compliant across its network hospitals in providing treatment to EWS patients.”
Other hospitals to have been served notices are Delhi ENT Hospital, Guru Harkishan Hospital, Jeevan Anmol Hospital, Red Cross Hospital, Vinayak Hospital and Jankidas Kapur Memorial Hospital. They were asked to respond within seven days with action taken reports .
The Jankidas Kapur Memorial Hospital emerged the worst performer in terms of treating EWS patients in OPDs and IPDs in 2018, with the figures at 2% and 5% respectively. In Vinayak Hospital, DGHS alleged authorities have shared “false and inflated” figures.
Delhi ENT and Guru Harkishan Hospital treated 5% and 15% EWS patients in their OPDs and 1% each in IPDs. Jeevan Anmol and Red Cross hospitals registered EWS OPD figures of 16% and 1% respectively. The hospitals did not respond to messages seeking a comment.