Healthcare Startup Pristyn Care Faces Scrutiny Amid Patient Backlash and Financial Delays

The healthcare startup finds itself grappling with a trifecta of challenges: a surge of discontent among patients, a significant employee attrition rate, and the postponement of its FY22 financial statements. Moreover, accusations have arisen suggesting that the company may be encouraging patients to opt for surgical procedures—its medical practitioners are purportedly evaluated based on their capacity to transform initial consultations into surgical cases.
30 Aug 2023, 02:07 PM IST

(Left to right) Pristyn Care co-founders Dr Vaibhav Kapoor, Harsimarbir (Harsh) Singh and Dr Garima Sawhney. The company, founded in 2018, has raised a total of $177 million and became a unicorn in 2021

Mumbai: A recent investigation into the operations of Pristyn Care, a healthcare startup known for its partnerships with hospitals to offer elective surgeries, has unveiled a series of disconcerting practices that have raised concerns about patient care, aggressive sales strategies, and financial transparency. The company’s approach, which blends digital marketing, proactive sales teams, and discounted surgical packages, has led to allegations that it prioritizes revenue targets over patient well-being, potentially compromising the quality of care provided.

At the forefront of these concerns is a tragic incident involving the untimely demise of a patient, Amita Panchal, a 47-year-old bank employee with mobility challenges. Panchal underwent a surgical procedure at a hospital affiliated with Pristyn Care. In a devastating turn of events, her condition worsened significantly following the surgery. Family members, alarmed by her deteriorating state, pleaded for the removal of a balloon inserted during the procedure. However, a two-day delay occurred before the balloon was finally extracted. Tragically, Panchal passed away, sparking questions about the adequacy of the care provided and the impact of Pristyn Care’s approach on patient outcomes.

These concerns highlight broader issues with Pristyn Care’s modus operandi. The company’s business model relies heavily on an amalgamation of digital advertising, well-organized sales teams, and discounted surgical offerings. This ambitious growth-focused strategy has prompted allegations that sales executives and medical professionals might prioritize surgical interventions to achieve financial goals, potentially at the expense of patients’ best interests.

Pristyn Care has vehemently denied allegations of undue pressure for surgeries and has emphasized its steadfast commitment to maintaining the highest standards of patient safety. Nevertheless, sources within the organization, who requested anonymity, have disclosed that doctors’ performance is monitored based on their conversion rates from outpatient consultations to inpatient surgeries (OPD to IPD ratio), hinting at potential financial influences on medical decision-making.

However, this is not the only area under scrutiny. The startup’s internal work environment, marked by high attrition rates—particularly in departments responsible for patient care coordination and finance—has raised alarms about its impact on the overall quality of care delivered.

In addition to patient care concerns, Pristyn Care is also grappling with financial matters. Delays in filing financial statements for FY22 and FY23 have attracted attention. In response to concerns raised by KPMG International’s auditing affiliate, the company reportedly enlisted an external agency to conduct an internal audit, adding a layer of complexity to the ongoing evaluation of the company’s financial practices.

As Pristyn Care navigates these challenges, its practices and actions within the healthcare sector are undergoing intense scrutiny. The case underscores the intricate dynamics that emerge when growth-oriented business models intersect with complex patient care decisions and medical ethics. The company’s response to these allegations and its ability to address the raised concerns will likely shape its reputation and future standing within the healthcare industry.

The original article appeared in The Mint-

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