BHUBANESWAR:Private hospitals have had a free run in Odisha, blatantly flouting all rules and norms and misusing land availed at concessional rates as the Government turned a blind eye to their functioning, the CAG report has revealed.
The situation has come to such a point that an astounding 65 per cent of the total 1151 private hospitals and healthcare facilities in the State were running without valid registrations or licenses for as long as 17 years. The registration of 976 private clinical establishments (CEs) had expired between May 1996 and November 2013 and was not renewed as of August 2014, the report tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday pointed out.
The audit which has sampled four districts of Cuttack, Ganjam, Khurda and Sundargarh stated that registration of 377 out of 700 private CEs at 54 per cent had expired between September 1996 and November 2013.
Of 34 functional CEs in these districts that were test-checked by the CAG, nine were found to be running without any licence or registration for 15 to 83 months. There was no drive undertaken by the Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) which is the apex authority for registration and renewals against the violators.
“The Health and Family Welfare Department did not maintain any database on the functioning of CEs nor were there any inspection to ensure compliance. The Department has, though, submitted that inspections have been improved since December 2014 and 143 showcause notices issued and 21 prosecution cases filed,” the CAG stated.
Minimum standards of infrastructure, services and quality have neither been prescribed by the Government nor has any effort been made to ensure that the private facilities adhere to any norm. Though the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has issued uniform standards for hospitals, the Health Department has not created any framework for certification and accreditation mandatory for CEs.
The CAG has also reported with concern that many private hospitals and healthcare facilities not only charged exorbitant fee from the patients but also did not adhere to the norms on free treatment to BPL category patients despite availing land at concessional rate form the Government.
Secretary, Health and Family Welfare had in July 2014 issued the guidelines on providing free treatment to BPL patients to the tune of 25 per cent in OPDs and 10 per cent in in-patient department to the private hospitals, who had availed land from Government. But, of 39 CEs, who had availed land, 16 did not respond to the instructions.
The Government had allotted 125.262 acre of land at concessional rate from 1981 to 2009 to 39 persons for setting up nursing homes and private hospitals. Of these, six never set up the hospitals and used them for residential and commercial purposes.
The issue had raised a storm in the State in September last year as among the list of such violators was Jyoti Routray, wife of Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijoyshree Routray.