The Delhi government has asked five private hospitals in the city, including Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), to deposit “unwarranted profits” of over Rs 600 crore for refusing free treatment to the poor, the prime condition for land allotment lease.
Dr Hem Prakash, additional director (EWS) in the Health Department, said these five hospitals — Max Super Specialty Hospital (Saket), Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Shanti Mukand Hospital, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital and Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute — were provided lands at concessional rates between 1960 and 1990 on the condition that they will treat the poor free of cost.
“These five hospitals have not abide by the conditions. We had 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.
“The management will challenge the same in the High Court of Delhi or such relevant authority to seek suitable legal remedies available to it under law,” the hospital said in a statement. Devki Devi Foundation, of which Max-Super Speciality Hospital in Saket is a unit, said, “We believe the order is unfair to us, we stand fully committed to discharging all our obligations towards economically weaker sections (EWS). We are extremely serious towards fulfilling our obligations. While we study the order in detail, we will prefer an appeal against this order in the appropriate forum.” Director of Dharamshila Cancer Hospital Suversha Khanna said they will challenge the order in the court. Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute and Shanti Mukand Hospital could not be contacted.