To accept demonetised notes from patients, or not? Two days after a surprise announcement that demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes, private hospitals were confused if they must — like public hospital — also accept the notes till Friday.
Public hospitals were listed as essential services, which means patients were allowed to use the phased out notes for 72 hours to clear their bills. Maharashtra’s public health department said private hospitals were not accepting the notes, but advised the central government to give them the concession period too. The recommendation did not come into force.
But the confusion grew as a letter announcing the inclusion of private hospitals in the concession period, with a signature of Directorate of Health Services (DHS), started circulating on a popular messaging app among the heads of private hospitals on the morning of November 10.
Officials from the health ministry said the letter was shared on the app after an oral confirmation from the central finance ministry.
“On Wednesday, we received an oral confirmation. We were expecting a written notification, but it failed to take legal form,” said a top official from the public health department of the state. “We did start collecting older denominations and will do so until midnight of November 11, based on the letter we received,” said Dr Rajendra Patankar from the Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital.
“We couldn’t ascertain if the message was authentic; we decided not to accept the notes. Banks opened on Thursday, so our patients faced no inconvenience,” said Parag Rindani, head of Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.