The state cabinet on Friday said government medical colleges can now use their personal ledger accounts (PLA) to clear hotel dues incurred during the quarantine of their hospital’s doctors, nurses and healthcare staff in the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state cabinet directed these colleges to avail funds from their own personal ledger accounts to settle hotel bills. State Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh told The Indian Express that the deans of government medical colleges have been authorised to use PLA funds to ensure the running of hospitals is not compromised.
“Every day essential expenditure can be dealt with, apart from resolving small issues such as payment to food caterers or managing temporary shortages in supply of medicines,” Deshmukh said.
The Pune district administration had acquired the use of at least 24 hotels, including luxury ones, around Pune Railway Station area to accommodate medical and non-medical staff involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients at Sassoon General Hospital.
Due to the contagious nature of the infection, it was not possible to quarantine doctors treating Covid-19 patients or accommodate the specialists and intensivists working round the clock in the hostel rooms of government medical colleges. Due to the lockdown, the Pune district administration and luxury hotels held a deal wherein it was decided to charge Rs 2,000 per day per room. From April 24 to July 31, a bill of Rs 5.64 crore was generated, and hoteliers had then demanded the payment.
However, the matter became vexatious, as the amount was not paid and the District Collector’s office put the onus on the college administration to foot the bills.
Subsequently, the new Pune District Collector Dr Rajesh Deshmukh, on September 2, directed Sassoon General Hospital to pay the hotel bills as it could not be availed from the disaster management funds.
While Sassoon authorities had said the matter would be resolved soon, the state cabinet meeting held recently decided to authorise government medical colleges to utilise their PLA funds to settle routine payments, including hotel bills.
Till date, Sassoon Hospital has admitted 11,718 patients with suspected Covid-19 symptoms, of which 3,902 tested positive. A total of 2,062 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital. A total of 1,298 patients succumbed to the disease.
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