A committee, appointed by the state government to verify the bill amounts charged by private hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients, has found that a private hospital in Bhosari, Desai Accident and General Hospital, has been treating such patients without proper permission. The committee has asked the PCMC administration to seal the hospital.
Hospital authorities, however, claimed they had permission from PCMC to treat Covid-19 patients.
The committee has also issued notices to 16 hospitals, asking them why action should not be taken against them for “giving inflated bills to patients”. These hospitals have also been asked to refund nearly Rs 36 lakh, the amount they overcharged by violating government norms.
Some of the private hospitals which have been issues notices include Sterling Hospital, D Y Patil Hospital, Aditya Birla Hospital, Dhanvantri Hospital, Lifepoint Hospital, Jeevanjyoti Hospital, Lokmany Hospital, Ayush Multispeciality Hospitality, Desai Hospital and Metro Multi-specilality hospital.
“These hospitals have been asked to explain why they overcharged Covid-19 patients…they have violated governments norms regarding various charges to be levied…,” said N Babu, who heads the committee.
In two cases, the committee found that the hospitals were treating Covid-19 patients though they had no permission to do so. “When we asked Desai Hospital to show the permission given to them to run as a Covid hospital, they could not produce the sanction letter… besides, it was found that they were issuing one bill to the patient and another to the PCMC team…it seems like some hospitals are indulging in cheating,” said Babu.
“We will soon take action against the second hospital,” he added.
Sheetal Mahankale, a resident of Kasarwadi who had complained to PCMC about exorbitant bills, said,”My father was admitted to Desai Hospital… the hospital gave us a bill of around Rs 2,69,000. When we complained to the PCMC commissioner, the civic team came to inspect the bill. However, after inspection, instead of the bill amount coming down, it went up to Rs 3.25 lakh. The hospital said it was a calculation mistake. This was a shock for us. When a resident complains to PCMC, instead of the bill amount coming down, it went up exorbitantly. Is this justice for Covid patients,” she asked.
Babu said this was unacceptable and his team has already asked the PCMC commissioner to take stringent action against such hospitals.
PCMC commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “We will be taking strict action against hospitals violating government norms. We have issued notices to them and once we get their reply, appropriate action will be taken against them”.
Dr Sujit Kalhapure, managing director of Desai Hospital, said, “We had permission from the PCMC to run the hospital. PCMC officials had told us to run the hospital for Covid-19 patients.”
On “two different bills for PCMC officials and patients”, Dr Kalhapure said, “This had happened in a few cases as our clerk had fallen ill and the new clerk could not understand the system properly.”
Babu said the government has fixed charges for a normal ward at Rs 4,000, ICU without ventilator at Rs 7,500 and ICU with ventilator at Rs 9,000. A PPE kit costs Rs 600 in normal wards and Rs 1,200 in ICUs. “People should know these charges. Hospitals will have to strictly adhere to these charges,” he said.
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