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Pune: Not a single patient at two Covid care centres with 600 beds, but bill runs up to Rs 5 crore

The private party, which has submitted the Rs 5.26 crore bill to the PCMC, has argued that "the bill was as per the contract signed with the civic administration."

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: February 7, 2021 5:13:53 am
Pune news, Pune covid care centres, Pune covid cases, Pune Hospitals, PCMC, Pune hospital bills, Indian expressIn August, after a continuous surge in COVID-19 patients in June and July, the PCMC had decided to set up COVID Care Centres across the industrial city.

FOR the last six months, two Covid Care Centres (CCCs) in Bhosari did not get a single Covid-19 patient. But the private party which set up the CCCs on instructions of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has submitted a bill of Rs 5.26 crore, putting the civic administration in a tough situation.

After a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases in June and July, the PCMC had decided to set up Covid Care Centres across the industrial city in August. Two of them were set up at Ramsmuriti Mangal Karalaya and Hira Lawns in Bhosari, and the contract was given to Sparsh Hospital. The PCMC had signed the contract with the private party for providing Rs 1,239 per bed per day. The two centres collectively had 600 beds.

However, as the number of cases started falling and the PCMC could accommodate Covid-19 patients at other facilities, these two Covid Care Centres did not get any patients. However, the private party, which has submitted the Rs 5.26 crore bill to the PCMC, has argued that “the bill is as per the contract signed with the civic administration.”

Dr Amol Halkunde, CEO of Sparsh Hospital, said, “We were told to set up the hospital with all the required facilities. Accordingly, we appointed a team of doctors, nurses and other staff. The contract terms mentions that if we treat a patient for a day, we will get Rs 1,239 per day and even if we don’t get patients, we will be paid the same amount. This is because we had appointed the necessary doctors, other staff and made arrangements for treating the patient per bed.”

Dr Halkunde said they had taken the two centres on rent. “We had to pay Rs 40 lakh per month rent for both the facilities as well as salaries for doctors and other staff. We had also purchased the required medicines and installed medical equipment…,” he said.

He said since the number of Covid-19 cases went down and the PCMC could make arrangements for patients at its other facilities, the centres did not get a single patient. “Our staff kept waiting but we did not get any patient. It is is not our fault,” he said.

Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “The demand made by the private party is as per the terms of the contract. However, we had appointed a committee to look into the matter. After the committee pointed out some deficiencies, we have reduced the bill amount drastically. We are still looking into the issue and will ensure that the contractors get the amount only as per the terms of the contract.”‘

PCMC Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salave said, “I was one of the members of the committee appointed to look into the issue. We have submitted our report to the civic administration. You can seek details from Additional Commissioner Ajit Pawar.” But despite repeated attempts, Pawar was not available for comment.

Civic officials said the committee found certain deficiencies over patients’ kits, cleanliness equipment, medicines, oxygen cylinders, PPE kits, toilet facility, masks and doctors’ registration certificates at the two Covid Care Centres.

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