A month after the Chamber of Distributors of Medical Implants and Disposables (CDMID) sent a letter to the Kozhikode Medical College demanding the payment of all outstanding dues, it has stopped the supply of medical equipment to the Cardiology departments of both the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College and Alappuzha Medical College.
On Tuesday, the secretary of CDMID, which is the medical distribution association that provides supplies to most of the medical colleges in Kerala, sent a letter to the Superintendents of both the medical colleges. The letter stated that the distributors will not be replenishing the stocks to the cardiology labs of both the hospitals as they are yet to receive their payment since 2012.
Speaking to TNM, Nidheesh PK, the secretary of CDMID, said that they used to provide equipment to all medical colleges in the state based on the three schemes of the government: The Karunya Benevolent Fund (KBF) scheme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) scheme and the Tribal Supply Scheme. He says that the amount used to treat patients who come under these schemes is supposed to go to CDMID but that's not been happening since 2012.
CDMID in their letter to both the medical colleges stated the Thiruvananthapuram Medical college owes the equipment distributor a sum total of Rs 20.06 crore, whereas the Alappuzha Medical College has an outstanding due of Rs 15.21 crore. Both these hospitals havenâ€™t paid their dues since 2012.
â€śIf no action is taken by the government, we will take back our stocks, which are kept on a consignment basis at the catheterisation laboratory, after July 10,â€ť stated CDMID in their letter to superintendents of both the hospitals.
Stating that they are not the only hospitals that are yet to pay their dues, Nidheesh said that even the Thrissur and Kottayam Medical Colleges have their share of outstanding dues. But they are said to have promised to finish the payments in the coming days. As far as the Kozhikode Medical College is concerned, the CDMID secretary stated that they have started to pay their dues in instalments and are likely to finish off the dues by July 15.
This is not the first time that CDMID is protesting against Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha Medical College. In June 2018 as well, they had stopped the distribution of supplies to these hospitals, following which they were called in for a meeting with the superintendent. â€śAfter the meeting, we were given a written statement promising that the payment will be made in the coming days but it has been one year since then and there hasnâ€™t been any change,â€ť Nidheesh tells TNM.
TNM got in touch with Dr Sharmath, the Superintendent of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, who blamed the delay of payment on their insurance agencies. â€śInsurance companies are yet to give us the required money and they keep giving us various excuses every time we approach,â€ť he said.
Although Sharmath stated that the stoppage of equipment distribution wonâ€™t cause any inconvenience at the moment, he went on to admit that it will affect the hospital in the long run, if they are not able to make the payment as soon as possible. â€śAt the moment, we have already stocked a few equipment but if they are to take away the stock, then it might start to affect us. We hope to make the payment before that,â€ť he added.