Friday, March 15, 2019

Delhi high court: Why can’t hospitals have account for CSR donations?

Abhinav Garg, Durgesh Nandan Jha | TNN | Mar 14, 2019

NEW DELHI: Why shouldn’t hospitals have a separate account to receive donations under Corporate Social Responsibility, Delhi high court sought to know on Wednesday.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a letter sent by former Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr KK Aggarwal, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani asked the Centre and the AAP government why the court’s 2014 guidelines in this regard were still lying in cold storage.

In its judgment, HC had then advised the government to ensure its hospitals had a separate account to receive donations under CSR from companies or from charitable entities. Converting the letter into a PIL, the bench issued a notice to the Union ministry of health and Delhi government’s health department seeking their responses.

Dr Aggarwal, president of NGO Heart Care Foundation of India, complained to HC in the letter that neither the Centre nor Delhi government had implemented the suggestions given by the court in 2014.

Pointing out that CSR initiatives, in which corporates can contribute to welfare of society either financially or through their products and services free of cost, should be welcomed by hospitals, HC had also suggested that all hospitals should have a designated officer to whom applications for assistance can be made by patients in need.

“Government hospitals could put up a list on the health department website of the drugs, implants and devices they require for EWS or BPL patients. This way, people would donate as per the needs of each hospital. This could be revised monthly. The state government may put up a list of drugs, implants and devices excluded from its budget for which donations would be welcome,” read HC’s suggestions.

The suggestions had come in HC’s judgment directing Delhi government to provide enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) free of cost at AIIMS to a poor minor boy suffering from a rare genetic disorder whenever he needed it.

At present, government hospitals provide financial aid to the poor from relief funds of the President, PM and CM, and funds from health ministry and private trusts, in addition to discretionary grants. But that is not enough, said doctors.

In 2016, AIIMS had started a unique programme — Adopt a Patient — to fill the gap between demand and supply in donations for patients. But the programme was discontinued later. “We admit about two lakh patients every year at AIIMS. Of these, 30-40% are poor and cannot pay for implants. In case of spinal injury, there have been cases where the families have abandoned patients due to lack of means to continue treatment or rehabilitate the patient at home,” the doctors had said.

(Source: TOI)

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