Dear Members,

Itís me Alumolu, working as a Manager in a hospital located in Andhra Pradesh,
I would like to bring here an issue to your notice for suggestions and guidance.
Two patients a male and female (Wife & Husband) were admitted in our hospital and got treated, female patient was recovered and discharged but the male patient was referred to Higher center, then their son came to hospital and said that I spoke to your Managing director and he told you MD accepted to take him away, but I denied to do so, I called to my MD but Iím unable to reach him. Then I requested him we canít do so, and I asked him kindly do the payment. He has given a cheque I send the same to Accountant
On Account of this issue my MD intentionally switched off his mobile for this particular issue and he is only intimated to Accountant that I will be available on my brotherís mobile but not to disclose this to anyone, so the same is not revealed to anyone.
The patient went to another hospital and expired there.
Later on the patients son cancelled the cheque and send a false legal notice, then we approached an advocate he examined it and said that we can claim full amount because he accepted himself that ďI have to give XX amount to youĒ.
Then the problem is with my MD, he is deducting our management and supervisors salaries until the value of amount has been recovered. We tried to clarify him what our advocate said but he denied giving our full pay.
Dear sir/maíam please helps us to get out of this issue,

From India, Hyderabad
Dear Alumolu DP,

We the members of this forum are outsiders and do not know the internal dynamics of your company. However, the following observations or questions arise from your post:

a) It appears that the procedure for acceptance of the cheques from the patients or their kin has been finalised in your hospital. The realisation of the cheque takes a few days. Under such circumstances, why did your hospital not create an SOP for cheque acceptance? For the cheque payment, you could have taken an undertaking from the patient that if the cheque bounces or for the issues arising out of non-realisation of the cheque, his liability towards payment of the hospital charges remain as it is.

b) Secondly, it appears that your hospital relies on verbal communication. If some patient says that he/she has authorisation from the MD to accept the cheque, you could have told him to bring a written authorisation. It was the patient's duty to ensure that you received a call from the MD. The telephonic discussion should have been followed by written authorisation from him. The incident highlights the importance of written communication in routine administration.

c) Notwithstanding point (b) above, when you had tried to contact your MD, his phone was not reachable. In such a case, why did nobody send him an email or a message through WhatsApp? A delay in obtaining the authorisation could have frustrated the patient or his kin. Out of frustration, the patient might have spoken the truth.

d) When this incident was happening, your MD's phone was not reachable exactly at that time. Was it a deliberate attempt by the MD to remain incommunicado? Was your MD hand in glove with the patient of his kin?

e) Since the patient escaped without paying the hospital charges, why your hospital did not approach a lawyer? Why the employees concerned have approached a lawyer in their personal capacity. This is an official matter, and it should have been dealt with by the company's (hospital's) administration.

f) Now this is about the recovery of the dues against the patient admitted. 100% recovery from the erring employee(s) is wrong. There are a good number of judgements by the courts of the different levels. In fact, before initiating the process of recovery, your hospital should have ordered a domestic enquiry. Did the independent and impartial enquiry take place?

Learning from the Incident for the HR Professionals: - The incident highlights the importance of organisational communication. Organisational communication means creating means so that the parties concerned are informed proactively or the transfer of information takes place in a standardised manner. If the patient or his/her kin had been communicated well in advance on the means of accepting the payment, this problem would not have come. The quintessence of management science lies in showing the power of anticipation and preventing dissatisfaction or even disputes. Lessons of management science are taught to develop an ability to prevent problems rather than waste time in solving them!

Thanks,

Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Alumolu,

The present issue with you to recover the amount from the person got treatment. You should file an FIR against the person(issued cheque) under section 420 for Cheating and dishonestly with other criminal sections deemed appropriate. Another case against patient for non-payment of hospital dues with interest for recovery of dues.

The action of MD is obvious to deduct the outstanding from the staff because of their fault the patient discharged without recovery of bill. Though the action of your MD is justified, but the action was too early because this action would demoralize the staff. And the MD should be proactively support the staff for recovery of amount from the cheater.
As per the posting, the action of your MD and Accountant is this matter creates suspicion.
The death of patient does not validate non-payment of dues on account of their treatment.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Colleague,
As rightly discussed by the other Colleagues, the challenge like, non-payment, part payment, denial to pay, cheque bounce, cheque cancellation by the parties availed service but later due to some grievance cancelling the cheque etc are common in the health care sector.

It seems that the organization has to strengthen, its internal billing, collection, discharge procedures very meticulously with a robust system control including a good hospital billing software etc. The Organization( hospital) should have a sound legal process in place to recover and deal with such cases with good legal team support. Unless otherwise, there is a serious negligence on the part of the Employees and if there are intentional violations of laid down procedures, continued with clear charge sheet, enquiry to express the employees' side in the enquiry, the organization should not have proceeded for recovery of the amount from employees. If such abrupt decisions are taken and implemented, then every employee will be in panic and employees to will not work freely in a smooth flow of work. This will affect the reputation and systems of the hospital badly.

In the instant case, the hospital should proceed to legal action for collecting the money from the parties concerned with reasonable discounts if any allowable to the family. This is a clear matter to be dealt with legally by the organization.

The deduction from employees should be last resort where no recovery is possible provided it is proved that there is serious lapse of duties and procedures for the employees. Only all the employees to meet the MD and jointly represent your case to the Management clearly. There are legal ways also to contest but it might affect the employment of the concerned and after that the life of employees in the organization may be made difficult. Hence it has to be carefully discussed and resolved.

All the Best, God Bless,
Dr.P.SIVAKUMAR
Doctor Siva Global HR
Tamil Nadu

From India, Chennai
I think the deduction from salary is illegal under payment of wages act and under various other legislation. The recovery can be done only in case there was a fraud on part of the employees or deliberate violation of the procedure of the company. In the later case also, the deduction can be only after due order of the court.

Given the background, this was deliberately done by the MD so you have little internal escalation options. You need to speak to an advocate and file criminal / civil case against the hospital as well as the MD. Note that this is an expensive affair unless you have local NGO, union, etc supporting you.

In the meanwhile, a better option is to look for another job.

From India, Mumbai
Dear colleague,

1. In my view it is MD in this case is the root cause of the issues . If there was really some such discussion between him and the patient's son as claimed by him, it was the duty of the MD to see that all concerned are informed about it. By not acting proactively , MD 's
irresponsible behaviour has triggered chain actions and reactions from the staff resulting in monetary losse. The monetary loss suffered by the hospital should be recovered from MD's salary and not from the staff.

2. Before taking punitive action of deductions from staff salaries, they ought to have been given an opportunity to explain which is unacceptable lapse.

3. The concerned Manager also has faulted by not ascrtaining by any means from MD the alleged talk , before discharging. Besides, patient should not have been discharged before the cheque was realised.

4. Largely MD and partly some staff also have messed up this matter. But , at any rate, the action of staff salary deductions , the manner in which it is done, is unjustified and illegal.

5. Staff should escalate this matter by suitable verbal or written representation . Suitable legal action deserves to be takan against the truent son of the patient for cheque cancellation .

Regards,

Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
The above discussions overlook the relevance of the provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Act in the given context. It is not understood how the patient's son had 'cancelled' cheque. It may be that he would have instructed the Bank to stop payment. Still then , the accountant should have presented the cheque and if the cheque was not honoured, the Management could have initiated criminal action under the provisions of Section 138 of the NI Act.

Obviously, the fault lies with the accounting system being followed by the Hospital.

From India, Kochi

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