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Overcharged for Covid test: Jalandhar hospital asked to refund Rs 3.28L to 106 patients

Overcharged for Covid test: Jalandhar hospital asked to refund Rs 3.28L to 106 patients

Photo for representation only. File photo

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 23

Jalandhar-based Patel Hospital has been asked to refund Rs 3.28 lakh “overcharged” from 106 patients for the RT-PCR Covid test.

An inquiry ordered by the Deputy Commissioner on the issue concluded that the hospital had erroneously overcharged Rs 3.28 lakh from 106 OPD patients who underwent the RT-PCR Covid test on its premises. The hospital management has been asked to refund the excess amount to all patients. This is the first time in the state that a private hospital has been asked to return the amount overcharged for the RT-PCR test during the pandemic.

Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori had ordered a probe following a complaint by Rajiv Makol, a resident, that Patel Hospital had charged Rs 5,500 for the test on July 21 instead of Rs 2,400 fixed by the government. Following the order, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) Randeep Gill conducted a probe. The Tribune highlighted the issue.

“Patel Hospital has given an undertaking that it will refund the excess amount of Rs 3.28 lakh to 106 patients. The hospital will also set aside an equal amount in a separate account for poor patients,” said Thori. He said the management admitted it was not aware of the government notification that fixed the rate for the RT-PCR test at Rs 2,400.

The Patel Hospital management stated, “The charges included RT-PCR test using Cepheid GeneXpert machine, for which PPE kits. There was ambiguity in the July 8 orders issued by the state government. We discontinued the OPD-based RT-PCR Covid-19 test using the Cepheid GeneXpert machine on July 21 as it is not possible to do it without PPE kits.”

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