The West Bengal Health Commission on Thursday issued an order against a private hospital in Kolkata and asked the authorities to deposit a fine of Rs 10 lakh for overcharging a Covid positive patient. The Commission, headed by Retired Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee, was hearing a case of a patient who had died inside an ambulance after DESUN Hospital allegedly demanded Rs 3 lakh as admission fees.
West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission Chairman Justice (retd) Ashim Banerjee said, “The licence of DESUN Hospital should have been suspended. However, as it was not a case of wrong treatment, so there was no suspension order.”
The commission has further directed the hospital not to take any advance payment from any patient till the case is closed.
The commission said it was closely monitoring private hospitals to prevent them from overcharging patients. It added that only a maximum of Rs 50,000 can be taken in advance from the family of Covid-19 patients.
According to the Commission, Tamluk resident Laila Bibi was brought to DESUN Hospital in an ambulance. Her family had booked a bed in advance for Rs 60,000. However, the hospital didn’t admit her and instead demanded more money. The family members complained that the hospital authorities did not admit the patient even after receiving the entire admission fee.
The Health Commission blamed the DESUN hospital authorities and a case was filed against them.
The Commission has been receiving frequent complaints of private hospitals overcharging Covid patients and it is planning to cap the cost of treatment at such medical facilities.
“We are receiving several complaints, and actions are being taken against the guilty,” Banerjee told The Indian Express.
The Health Commission has already capped the charge of collecting swab samples from home at Rs 2,250. The health panel had informed hospitals that PPE charges of Rs 1,000 per day per patient should also include charges for sanitiser, additional gloves, head gears among others. No additional amount should be charged for these items, hospitals were told.
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