FOR six months, two COVID Care Centres in Bhosari did not get a single COVID-19 patient. Yet, the private party which set up the CCCs on the instructions of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has submitted a bill of Rs 5.26 crore, putting the civic administration in a piquant situation.
In August, after a continuous surge in COVID-19 patients in June and July, the PCMC had decided to set up COVID Care Centres across the industrial city. Two of which had come up in Bhosari. They were set up at Ramsmuriti Mangal Karalaya and Hira Lawns in Bhosari. The contract was given to Sparsh Hospital. The PCMC had signed the contract with the private party for providing Rs 1,239 per bed per day.
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However, as cases started falling and PCMC could accommodate the COVID-19 patients at other facilities, these two COVID Care Centres did not get any patient. The private party, which has submitted the Rs 5.26 crore bill to the PCMC, has argued that “the bill was as per the contract signed with the civic administration.”
Dr Amol Halkunde, CEO of Sparsh Hospital, said, “We were told to set up the hospital with all the required facilities. Accordingly, we appointed a team of doctors, nurses and other staff. As per our contract, we were promised Rs 1,239 per bed per day. The contract terms mention that if we treat a patient for a day, we will get Rs 1,239 per day. And even if we don’t get patients we will be paid Rs 1,239 per bed. This is because we had appointed the necessary doctors, other staff and made arrangements for treating the patient per bed.” The two facilities together had 600 beds.
Dr Halkunde said they had taken the two centres on rent. “We had to pay Rs 40 lakh per month rent for both the facilities besides the salaries for doctors and other staff. We had also purchased the required medicines and installed medical equipment. We had to bear these expenditures,” he said.
Dr Halkunde said since COVID cases went down and PCMC could make arrangements for patients at its other facilities, they did not get a single patient. “Our staff kept waiting but we did not get any patient. It is not our fault,” he said.
When contacted, Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “The demand made by the private party is as per the terms of the contract. However, we had appointed a committee to look into the matter. After the committee pointed out some deficiencies, we have reduced the bill amount drastically. We are still looking into the issue and will ensure that the contractors get amount only as per the terms of the contract.”‘
PCMC Additional Health chief Dr Pavan Salave said, “I was one of the members of the committee appointed to look into the issue. We have submitted our report to the civic administration. You can seek details from Additional Commissioner Ajit Pawar.” Despite repeated attempts, Pawar was not available for comment.
Civic officials said the committee found certain deficiencies in connection with the patient kit, cleanliness equipment, medicine, fire brigade, oxygen cylinder, PPE kit, inadequate toilet facility, masks and doctors registration certificate at the two COVID Care Centres.