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Vadodara hospital overcharged Covid patients, says pulmonologist

The allegation comes days after BJP MLA Yogesh Patel made a public statement that private hospitals in Vadodara amassed only Rs 3,000 crore during Covid-19 treatment due to government curbs on charges, which had Patel attract the ire of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
October 28, 2021 5:44:46 am
vadodara covid news, gujarat covid newsAnilkumar Nambiar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Hospital in Vadodara denied the allegations and said that the hospital has recorded statements with the police. (Representative Image)

A city-based pulmonologist Dr Sonia Dalal has approached the Vadodara Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) against the management of Sterling Hospital in the city, alleging that the hospital overcharged patients to the tune of Rs 20 crore violating the fixed rates announced by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation.

The allegation comes days after BJP MLA Yogesh Patel made a public statement that private hospitals in Vadodara amassed only Rs 3,000 crore during Covid-19 treatment due to government curbs on charges, which had Patel attract the ire of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

On Wednesday, Dr Dalal addressed reporters and said that Sterling hospital in Vadodara — which was declared a Covid-19 centre — charged patients an additional fee as consultation charges towards super-specialists, to the tune of Rs 20 crore, none of which was paid to the actual doctors.

Dalal said, “I had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sterling hospital in 2018 as a full- time pulmonologist attached to the hospital. According to the MoU, the hospital was to pay me 100 per cent of my charges towards indoor admissions and 80 per cent of charges for surgical procedures… It was all going on as per the MoU until Covid-19 when Sterling hospital was declared as Covid-19 hospital.”

“As per guidelines of the VMC, the rate package for hospitals treating Covid patients had been decided for general ward, HDU, ICU, and ICU with ventilator categories… it was to include all charges, and exclude only charges of super specialist that were categorically defined as a cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, and nephrologist,” she added.

Dalal said that in July 2020, the hospital called the team of five specialist doctors and asked them to manage Covid-19 admissions in the hospital.

Dalal said, “They told me to see all patients every day. I told them I cannot see 200 patients in a day so I will bring in an assistant doctor. They asked me to pay my assistant doctor on my own, to which I agreed. But they were not even sharing the statement of accounts. In September, I asked them to share the statement. They told me they will give in March but it never happened.”

“One patient came and told me they had charged money for the visit of a super-specialist pulmonologist… I was aghast as they had refused to pay me for the same because it was included in the package… Now, my assisting doctor and I consulted 2865 patients during that time. By the calculation, we have not been paid Rs 1.34 crores per month, which amounts to Rs 20 crore,” the pulmonologist added. Dalal has approached the Vadodara Commissioner of Police, seeking a probe against Sterling hospital.

Anilkumar Nambiar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sterling Hospital in Vadodara denied the allegations and said that the hospital has recorded statements with the police.

Nambiar told The Indian Express, “The allegations made by Dr. Dalal are false. She is not attached to the hospital for the past three months. The figures she is quoting are also wrong. We have adhered to the rate slabs declared by the VMC for all four categories of wards. But there were no regulations imposed on semi-special and special rooms.. .”

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