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PCMC asks kin not to pay hospital bills for Covid patients without audit by civic team

Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil has formed as many as eight teams at zonal level to check if private hospitals are charging as per the government norms and approve the medical bills with necessary modifications.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: May 21, 2021 11:42:49 pm
7 out of 15 PMC ward office areas have no micro-containment zonesCovid-19 patients at Pune's Naidu Hospital. (Express Photo: Pavan Khengre)

THE PCMC has asked families of Covid-19 patients to not pay hospital bills unless they are checked thoroughly by a team of civic doctors and auditors. The civic body has received complaints of private hospital bills running into excessive amounts.

Municipal commisisoner Rajesh Patil has formed eight teams at the zonal level to check bills, as per government norms, and approve them with necessary modifications. The PCMC has also appointed 30 engineers, who will facilitate the bill verification process with civic teams.

“The engineers have been appointed for bed management. They visit hospitals regularly. They have been tasked with taking complaints about excessive bill amounts for Covid-19 patients to our team of doctors and auditor,” said joint city engineer Satish Savane, who has been appointed as the coordinating officer.

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Savane said when a bill was raised by the hospital upon discharge or death of a patient, families should get it verified from the PCMC teams. “Our team will verify whether the bill has been raised as per government norms. The government has decided treatment rates to be levied for Covid-19 patients. Private hospitals have to strictly adhere to these rates. If families find that an excessive amount has been charged, the amount will be deleted from the bill by our team of doctors and auditors and the bill will be returned to the hospital with directions to rectify it and then present it,” he said.

Savane also said the PCMC had set up the bill verification process as it was receiving complaints of excessive bill amounts for Covid-19 patients who had recovered or died. “I have received a number of complaints myself,” he added.

There are 135 dedicated private hospitals, including big ones like Aditya Birla and Lokmanya hospitals in Pimpri-Chinchwad. There are five civic hospitals where treatment is free for Covid-19 patients.

In his directives, Patil said, “If there are irregularities in the bill, private hospitals should be directed to correct it. Deputy and junior engineers will help families get bills checked by civic auditors and doctors.”

Maval MP Shrirang Barne, who has complained to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about excess billing by private hospitals in Pimpri-Chinchwad, said, “Some big private hospitals are behaving like commercial entities. They are trying to make a profit out of treatment given to patients. This is inhuman and the chief minister should intervene and take appropriate action in the matter.” Barne also said he had received many complaints of excessive bill amounts charged by private hospitals and expected the PCMC to take action.

In another decision, the PCMC has decided to give three months’ pension to 4,114 differently abled beneficiaries.

The pension amount is Rs 2,000 per month. Social welfare officer Sambhaji Yewale said, “The PCMC pays Rs 2,000 pension every month to differently abled citizens with 40 per cent disability. This amount is directly deposited into their accounts. We are depositing pension for April, May and June collectively in their accounts. Besides, mentally ill citizens will get Rs 2,500. There are 1,909 such citizens.”

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