Fleecing Covid patients

Panel for seeking explanation from Panchkula's Paras Hospital

Panel for seeking explanation from Panchkula's Paras Hospital

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 18

A district-level committee formed to look into complaints of overcharging from Covid patients by private hospitals in Panchkula has recommended issuing a warning to Paras Hospital and seeking an explanation from it for alleged inflated bills.

Revealing the committee findings, Speaker Gian Chand Gupta today said he would write to the state government for carrying out an audit of bills of private hospitals, issued to Covid patients.

Recently, Gupta, who is a legislator from the Panchkula constituency, had visited Paras Hospital after receiving complaints of overcharging.

The six-member committee comprising nodal officer Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner Sanjiv Rathee, Dr Rajiv Narwal, Dr Angela Dhingra, Dr Shivani Hooda, Dr Archana Aggarwal and accounts officer Narender Kandola inspected three bills issued by the hospital.

BB Singal, a member of the Haryana State Pharmacy Council, is also part of the committee as a volunteer member.

In the case of patient Jog Dhian, the committee found that he was admitted to the hospital on May 2 and till May 13, his family was issued a provisional bill of Rs7,59,831. Of this amount, Rs2.95 lakh was shown as advance.

When the committee contacted the patient’s brother Sanjv Kumar, he said Dhian was on a ventilator and alleged that the hospital had not been providing adequate treatment.

The committee found that a large number of tests had been conducted on the patient for which charges were depicted in the bill.

When the committee contacted Dr Ria of Paras Hospital, she stated that the summary of tests and the charges for those tests were for the record of the hospital only. She also informed that the charges were provisional but the final billing would be done strictly as per the Haryana Government instructions…,” said the minutes of the meeting of the committee.

“But on the same day, the patient was issued a final bill of Rs2.91 lakh,” said Gupta, during a media interaction.

The committee concluded that the patient was excessively charged Rs7.60 lakh but during the cross-verification, they reduced the bill by Rs4.69 lakh to Rs2.90 lakh, while conforming to the Haryana Government guidelines.

It also observed that the patient was being charged separately for tests such as physiotherapy, dialysis, cardiology and miscellaneous services.

In another case, a Covid patient was admitted on April 17 and discharged on May 3 but charged Rs4.98 lakh. He was kept in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) from April 17 to April 29. He was covered under insurance.

The committee also looked into the case of another patient, who was admitted on March 24 and expired on April 9. A bill of Rs9.01 lakh was issued but he too was covered under insurance.

As per the Haryana Government guidelines dated June 25 last year, hospital rates for per day admission for different categories have been fixed but they do not apply in cases of patients covered under family health insurance schemes. These rates are part of the package and include all charges.

The rates per day are Rs8,000 for isolation bed, Rs13,000 for ICU without ventilator care and Rs15,000 for ICU with ventilator care for hospitals which were not NABH-accredited. For the NABH-accredited hospitals, the rates per day are Rs10,000 for isolation bed, Rs15,000 for ICU without ventilator care and Rs18,000 for ICU with ventilator care.

But in both these cases of insurance cover, the committee concluded “there is a propensity on the part of the hospital to have charged them excessively”.

“Health Minister Anil Vij has been informed about the Paras Hospital case and bills concerned have been submitted to him,” said Gupta.

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