Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mohali hospital under HC scanner over pact signed with private firm

Ivy Hospital in Mohali has come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Gurgaon firm to procure it a minimum number of patients within a particular time frame by organising medical camps in Nigeria.
Justice Rajan Gupta has questioned the “legality” of the MoU signed between the hospital and the firm, Pulse Med Tours, as the matter relates to providing medical facilities to people. “It is inexplicable how a mutual understanding can be entered into between the parties to procure patients; whether there would be an element of criminality involved on part of the private hospital as well,” held Justice Gupta.
As per the deal signed on May 20, 2014, the firm was supposed to hold medical camps in Lagos, Nigeria, “to assist in business development of Ivy Hospital”.
The MoU reads, “PMT (Pulse Med Tours) shall commit a minimum referral of 10 patients to Ivy requiring medical treatments averaging around 4,000 US dollars per patient. These patients could be generated through the medical camp or outside of it. The time frame for the referrals of aforementioned 10 patients would be six months from the late (sic) date to the medical camp”.
The MoU further reads, “Failure to provide the number of patients promised with complete information and material provided by PMT would accrue a refund of 50% less consultancy fee to the hospital”.
The MoU also mentions, “PMT will charge 15% as commission fee on the total invoiced value for the first 15 patients who get treated at the Ivy’s treatment centre irrespective of whether the patients are generated directly or indirectly from the medical camp. Further, it shall charge 25% commission for all subsequent referred patients”.
Appearing for the Punjab government, additional advocate general Shilesh Gupta informed the court that the state government had addressed a letter to the Medical Council of India (MCI) on December 7 highlighting the issue.
Gupta added that the case had now been placed before the chairman of MCI’s ethics committee to ascertain whether the MoU was against the ethics of the medical profession.
The case had reached the high court after Sumit Rustagi, managing partner of Pulse Med Tours, had approached the court seeking anticipatory bail after the Ivy Hospital authorities had registered an FIR against him.
The FIR was registered on August 27 last year at Mataur police station in Mohali for cheating and criminal breach of trust on the allegations that Rustagi had duped the hospital of Rs 9 lakh given to him as advance.
The hospital authorities had claimed that Rustagi’s firm neither referred any patient nor any medical camp was organised as scheduled between July 17 and July 20, 2014, at Gold Cross
Hospital in Nigeria. The Mohali district court had declined Rustagi bail on October 17 last year.
The state government now has to submit its reply in the court in January last week after receiving MCI’s response.

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