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From nothing to becoming 'busiest' facility: Hyderabad ESIC hospital sees transformation in 3.5 years

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 28, 2019  | 18:32 IST

Hyderabad, Aug 28 (PTI) From being an "abandoned" campus just till three-and-a-half-years ago to becoming the country's "busiest" such facility, the Employees' State Insurance Corporation Medical College and Hospital here has witnessed a remarkable turnaround in a quick time. Prof (Dr.) M Srinivas, the Dean of the facility, says when he came here in February 2016, all the buildings blocks were locked down. "No patient, no doctor, no equipment. Stray dogs had made this place their home." "Bring this to life from coma," he remembers being told by a senior government functionary in New Delhi before he was sent from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, where he was a professor in the Department of Pediatric Surgery, to oversee the transformation of the hospital at Sanathnagar locality of the city. The transformation happened thanks to dedicated staff members, good governance and smart use of Aadhar-based technology, he says. "This is now the busiest ESIC medical college and hospital in the country," he tells a group of journalists here. On August 21, foundation stone was laid by two central ministers for opening a new outpatient block at the hospital. Its existing outpatient department caters to about 4,000 patients daily now, says Dr. Srinivas. It provides Super Specialty facilities like Cardiology, Plastic surgery, Nephrology, Endocrinology, Urology, Neurology, Hematology and Rheumatology through in-house through ESIC super specialty hospital or tie-up hospitals. Some facilities are provided under the PPP mode too. "There are 300-plus doctors now and 800 other staff. OPD caters to around 4,000 patients daily. Currently it has 700 beds," he says, adding "We plan to take it to 1,500." On August 21, Union Minister of State for Labour (Independent Charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar, accompanied by Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, dedicated the hospital to the nation. The foundation stone for a new outpatient department block to be constructed at a cost of Rs 124 crore was also laid. ESIC hospitals are run on the concept of providing social security to the country's workforce that earns below Rs 21,000 a month. They are funded by the insurance money paid by employer and employees. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced that the contribution to the ESIC fund has been reduced to 4 per cent from 6.75 per cent. Of this, while workers pay 0.75 per cent of their basic salary, their employers pay 3.25 per cent. It covers employees from bother private and public sectors. Narrating the story of hospital's revival, Dr. Srinivas says Aadhar- associated technology and "good governance" played major role in ensuring hassle-free recruitment of staff, elimination of proxy attendance, reduce referrals and weed out bogus patients. Rohith G, one of the first tutors to be hired, says the hospital's two attempts to get Medical Council of India approval to conduct classes failed in 2016 for lack of staff, facility and equipment. But, it improved on those fronts quickly and got the nod the same year and now takes 100 MBBS student every year. For expeditious recruitment, Dr Srinivas says the hospital devised a system which involved judging applicants on 70 parameters e.g., marks were assigned for gold medals, research paper publications and other such achievements. "You entered these details and the computer would generate their total marks. The candidates shortlisted themselves. This way, we also eliminated nepotism, recommendation and bribery from recruitment," he says. The hospital used the Aadhaar-Enabled Biometric Attendance System (AEBAS) to end the problem of late-coming. "We were the first institution in the country to use AEBAS. This was linked to the salaries too. Three late days a month is considered a Casual Leave. Beyond three, there will be salary deduction. There is grace period of 15 minutes though." He says referrals made by doctors with the intent of "getting kickbacks from the private facilities referred to" have been eliminated. The doctors referring the patients have to give their biometric details. Now only genuine referrals are made, Dr Srinivas says. According to hospital data, only three per cent of patients are now referred to outside health facility. The hospital has conducted over 36,000 major and minor surgeries in the past three years, the data says. The bed occupancy has been nearly 90 per cent over the past three years. The data also shows that average amount of time doctors spend in the hospital has increased from two hours to eight hours over the past three years. The hospital gives cleanliness and hygiene two major problems plaguing the government healthcare system in the country utmost importance. "Nobody spreads dirt at a temple. Do they? We maintain such a standard of quality that people don't litter around. We have 40-50 professors from outside India. They are surprised to see the cleanliness here. We ask them to use any toilet on this campus," Dr Srinivas says. Hospitals wards, OPD area and its expanse over 36.3 acre bear testimony to the dean's claim. But, Dr Srinivas refuses to take credit. "Building institutions is important. Individual are nobody. Today we are here, tomorrow we will not be. System is important. If this institution runs beyond me, its not my success. It's system's success," he says. Minister Gangwar assured all support to the hospital in making it an ideal facility. PTI TIR ZMN

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