Mumbai: Refuting reports that it owed the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and the Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital almost Rs 136 crore in arrears, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claims it owes them Rs 26 crore.
It has further claimed that the hospital administration had breached the norms by increasing the number of beds at both the hospitals without duly informing the corporation. Civic officials said they would meet the hospital administration on Tuesday to resolve the issue.
On the other hand, the hospital administration has claimed, for lack of funds, it is being forced to discharge patients in the middle of treatment, almost 400 from both its hospitals and has been turning away new ones.
However, the corporation is responsible for funding 85 per cent of the hospital’s operations and this amount paid on a quarterly basis.
But the BMC said it had decided to stop the funding after receiving several complaints of mismanagement and it alleged, the hospital had failed to provide sufficient documentation to prove its standing on the issue.
“The hospital building has been extended without the BMC being informed, as per rules. Also, we have received complaints of the hospital refusing to treat patients from poor economic backgrounds, so we stopped the funding.
However, we will be meeting the hospital administration on Tuesday, to discuss the issue,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner (AMC), BMC health department.
Further, said the BMC, it had learnt that the number of beds at both hospitals had been increased from 240 to 925, without its knowledge. Amey Ghole, chairperson of the civic health committee, said the BMC has paid the hospital till September 2019.
He added that while the civic body would now make the payment for the October-December quarter, it would deduct 10 per cent from this amount as the hospital had failed to comply with rules.
In 2010, the Wadia Group had entered into a contract with BMC and the state government. The BMC is supposed to bear 85 per cent of the operational costs of the children’s hospital and 42.50 per cent of the operational costs of the maternity hospital with the state government.
Ghole claimed there were multiple reasons for withholding dues since last October. “The dean of KEM hospital and an accounts officer (from the BMC’s health department) must be a part of the hospital managing committee, but this is yet to to happen.
A scrutiny of accounts has shown that at least 14-18 employees are receiving double salaries and this has to be investigated. Also, the hospital was not using medicines as stipulated by the BMC,” he added.
Dr Minnie Bodhanwala, medical director at Wadia hospital, said, “We have complied with all terms and conditions as per the government resolution. A public interest litigation in this matter has been filed in court, the matter is now sub judice.”
A hospital spokesperson said as per the trust deed, four members from the BMC should be on the board of management for Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital and two members each from the BMC and the state for Nowrosjee hospital. “It is up to the BMC to decide whom they want to appoint.”
1,700 in fear of losing jobs
The hospital has around 1,700 staffers who are also afraid of losing their jobs. Around 700 employees from Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital haven’t received their salary since December.
“We are unable to pay rent and our children’s school fees. While people were celebrating New Year, we were praying that our jobs be saved,” said Prakash Reddy, general secretary, Laal Bavta General Kamgar Union.
MNS seeks funds from govt, civic body
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Monday demanded that the state government and the Mumbai civic body provide funds to the two cash-strapped Wadia Hospitals in the city.
The Parel-based Bai Jerabai Wadia Hospital for children and Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, having over 800 beds for catering to children and women, have been discharging patients due to an inability to run the facilities.
The hospitals, which receive aid from the civic body and government, are facing cash crunch due to unpaid funds from BMC and the state government.
Staging a protest outside the hospital, the Raj Thackeray-led MNS demanded that the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) provide funds for proper running of the facilities.
The protest was led by MNS chief's wife Sharmila Thackeray. Former MLA Bala Nandgaokar and other party workers also participated in the protest.
MNS general secretary Rita Gupta said the hospital administration had not paid salaries to the employees, hence patients were unable to get proper treatment and medicines.
Gupta said they contacted BMC Commissioner and other officials of the civic administration, but the issue was not resolved, forcing them to stage the protest.
Staff members and nurses of the hospital also staged a protest on Saturday, demanding early clearance of their salaries and pensions.