The Association of the private doctors and hospital managers in Kerala will be forced to file a suit in the High Court of Kerala against the State Pollution Control Board (PCB) for charging exorbitant fees from the hospitals, clinics, labs and diagnostic centres towards consent fee, said Dr. M. A. Koya, president of QPMPA, Kerala branch committee.
The Association will, however, first approach the new state government with a memorandum in this regard before moving the court.
According to him, PCB is charging a huge sum as consent fee for a period of three years in advance pushing many of the struggling private hospitals into a serious financial crisis. He said that the PCB’s fee could discourage several private ventures getting into healthcare sector when the central and state governments are inviting more healthcare institutions to invest. “In spite of repeated representations and memorandums to the Board, no favourable decision has come from the authorities. So we are approaching the court for a right solution,” he said.
When Pharmabiz contacted K. Sajeevan, the chairman of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, he said the board is charging the consent fee as per a tariff notified by the government, and which is based on a national pattern. He added that as compared to other states, Kerala PCB was charging the lowest rate. Tariff is based on a slot period which remains the same throughout India. “The hospital managers may not know about it. The rate is based on the capital investment of the institution,” he told Pharmabiz.
Criticizing the Board, the national president of QPMPA, Dr O Baby, said that single doctor managed hospitals are the worst affected by the rigid attitude of the PCB authorities. Now, many hospitals are on the verge of closure and doctors may become unemployed. The PCB is charging the fee on various heads such as liquid waste, solid waste, chemical waste, biological waste and air pollution. He said there is not that much waste in diagnostic centres, but they are charging the fee based on their capital investments, and the amount is charged for three years together.
Dr. K. Kishore Kumar, secretary of QPMPA said a private hospital has to please about 46 departments to run the show. So, now new hospitals are not coming up in the private sector, only in the co-operative sector. Every year 30 – 40 per cent of the private hospitals, big and small, are closing down because of financial constraints. This largely affects the paramedical staffs of the institutions.
Dr. Koya said the fee charged by the PCB is irrational and there should be an intervention either from the government or from the judiciary. While speaking to this correspondent, several doctors running hospitals in various parts of the state, said, very often they have to bribe the officials to escape the PCB fees.
Source : Pharmabiz News – May 19, 2011, 0800 IST