NMMC’s very purpose of giving away half of the poor man’s hospital building at Vashi to Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty was to make super specialty and additional medial services accessible to the poor. But it’s been months the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty has gone functional and the NMMC’s administration’s revised policy for referring poor patients to the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty Hospital is still not in place. This mockery of the very aim of giving away the poor man’s hospital is the big story on NMTV weekend exclusive today. NMMC’s Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty Hospital is back in the news and again not for the right reasons. This time it’s because of the delay from the NMMC administration’s side to present a revised proposal to form a policy for referring patients in NMMC Hospital to NMMC’s Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty Hospital. It may be recalled that when NMMC administration had announced giving away more than half of the poor man’s hospital at Vashi to Hiranandani Health Care Pvt. Ltd. the primary reason told to justify the deal was that in return, Hiranandani Health Care would provide free super specialty services to poor patients coming to NMMC Hospital. The then Commissioner Madhukar Kokate said that they wanted to enter super specialty services as NMMC could not afford doing the same. Tax paying citizens had accepted the justification knowing that the pathetic conditions that reeled the NMMC health services and the need to make super specialty services available for the poor in Navi Mumbai. However, from the day the agreement was signed between NMMC and Hiranandani Health Care Pvt. Ltd. the deal has been surrounded with controversies, that only gets murkier with time. The first controversy was reported when Hiranandani Health Care Pvt. Ltd. sold off 100% equity to Fortis without informing NMMC. The administration attempt to favour the private party is also evident in the meager 1% increase every year on the rent for the 49 years lease period that will make the rent received a pittance. We met Sandeep Thakur -city own lone crusader for public issues. He advocates that the rent clause should be re-negotiated. Another administrative mischief was reported when corporators found out that the agreement signed with Hiranandani was different from the proposal approved by the NMMC General Body Meeting. Recalling the same, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik says that at that time the ruling front called three special general body meeting to re-discuss the deal. This included making a policy for 10% beds reservation for NMMC referred patients. However its been months that NMMC administration gave Hiranandani – Fortis all the required licenses post the general body approval in December 2008 but the policy for 10% beds reserved for the poor is still not in place. He adds that the agreement becomes useless due to the delay in forming the policy. Sandeep Thakur says that the delay could be intentional to benefit the private parties. Commissioner Vijay Nahata says that on their part the administration presented the proposal for forming the policy based on the agreement signed. He adds that on his part he presented the proposal to the Standing Committee, if the committee did not approve the proposal, it’s not his fault. However, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik says that the corporators gave the administration ample time to complete all official formalities before approving the proposal in December 2008 and since they didn’t complete the same, it’s failure of part of the administration. Standing Committee Chairman adds that the administration needs to set its priorities right and since this is a matter of public health; it should be taken up on priority. There is more to the issue than just the delay of forming a policy for critical cases. According to the agreement, NMMC should refer 10% OPD patients to Hiranandani – Fortis as well. But that too is not happening. Commissioner Vijay Nahata justifies that there is no need to refer OPD patents as they have the capacity to treat OPD patients. On the other hand, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik says that sudden change of decisions from what has been agreed upon leads to complications and that no official has the right to change what the corporators approve. According to Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik every time they ask the administration why patients are not being referred to Hiranandani – Fortis, they are told the machinery at the hospital is still under trial. However, in a telephonic conversation from Delhi Jasbir Garewal – the Director of Hiranandani – Fortis contradicts the information given by officials stating that they are fully functional. Nothing else bothers them. This isn’t just the only point of contradiction. NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata says that when they instructed that Fortis name be removed from the advertisement campaign as it amounted to breach of agreement, the latter gave an apology letter for it. However, during the telephonic conversation Jasbir Garewal – the Director of Hiranandani – Fortis outright denies this claim of the NMMC administration stating that they have not apologized to anyone. Clearly, Hiranandani Fortis is making every bit commercial use of the poor man’s hospital for their own benefits – be it from the corporate medical services or film shooting at their premise without sharing the royalties with NMMC. The only sufferers of the deal remain the poor people who are not getting their rightful share in the poor man’s hospital while tax paying citizens are being deceived due to NMMC administration’s delay in forming the very policy for which it gave away the poor man’s hospital. Corporators’ insensitivity to the medical needs of the poor and dead conscience of the administration seems to be the only explanation for the delay in bringing the proposal of 10% reservation for NMMC referred patients in the Hiranandani Fortis Hospital. May be only if some one suffers close at home, will the conscience of NMMC officers awaken so that they fulfill the calls of their duty.
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