Partners Opt Out of Ranchi Health Hub Project

The proposed Rs 918-crore healthcare hub being planned in Ranchi has hit a hurdle as the chosen private partners have backed out, apparently uneasy with a clause in the tender documents that calls for reserving 30 percent beds in a 500-bed hospital that is to come up there. Sources in the selection committee for Medico City, the health hub planned at Itki block of Ranchi, have confirmed that two hospital chains, Blue Sapphire Healthcare and Meditrina Group of Hospitals, did not take part in the financial bids even though they cleared the technical bids. “The financial bid was scheduled in the first week of March (March 6) but none of the selected bidders presented RFQ (request for quotation). Their representatives were uncomfortable with the clause for reserving 30 percent beds in the hospital for BPL patients,” said a senior official in the state health department. Both Blue Sapphire, which owns and runs Asian Institute of Medical Sciences in Faridabad, and the Kollam-based Meditrina Group, have pointed out that with the Ayushman Bharat scheme in place, the entire treatment cost of BPL families is to be reimbursed. Hence, there was no reason to reserve beds for BPL patients. “The tender clauses were drafted in 2017 when Ayushman Bharat had not been announced,” clarified the health department official, who is a member of the selection committee.

Now, the entire tender process has received a setback, more so because of the model code of conduct that came into effect on Sunday with the announcement of general elections. “If they had taken part in the financial bid, a work order would have been issued within a few weeks after considering their RFQs. However, with the model code of conduct in place we will not be able to complete the tender process till May-end,” the official said. The health department is expected to take a call on changing the tender clauses so that bidders are not put off by the Medico City project. “It will take a minimum of two years to complete construction of the Medico City project,” he said. The proposed medical hub is expected to have a hospital with a 100-bed cardiac center, a 30-bed diabetes center, a 50-bed chronic respiratory diseases center and a 50-bed drug and mental rehab center. Nearly 30 percent of the beds of each center are to be reserved for underprivileged patients whose treatment will be sponsored by the state government. The hub is also expected to host a medical college with 100 seats and a hospital with 500 beds, besides a college for nurses, paramedics and pharmacists spread over 30 acres.

The state cabinet had cleared the Medico City project in January 2016 and brought Ernst and Young under a private-public partnership model. In June 2017, the plan approval committee okayed the project cost to the tune of Rs 918.20 crore. However, the project was delayed as only a single entity, Meditrina Hospitals, showed interest. The tender process was not conducted online which subsequently led to its cancellation. Secretary of the state health department Nitin Madan Kulkarni admitted the Medico City Project was facing issues. “No bidders participated in the financial bid despite a few qualifying in the technical bid. We are re-looking into certain project clauses and getting them changed so that the project generates interest among private bidders and can be pushed again after the general elections,” said Kulkarni. – Telegraph India

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