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Hefty Covid treatment bills: Speaker writes to Khattar, seeks audit of private hospitals

The prices fixed by the state last year when similar cases of over-charging by private players was reported, were not followed in this specific instance. Insured by the SBI, it was the health insurance that bore the charges.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
May 20, 2021 8:40:16 am
Haryana had in June last year issued an order capping the daily package rates for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals between Rs 8,000 to Rs 18,000. (Representational)

Jog dhyan was handed over a bill of Rs 7.59 lakh by Paras Hospital of Panchkula on May 13 for his treatment for Covid-19 between May 2 and 13. The charges were reduced by 2.5 times to an aggregate Rs 2.9 lakh after an investigative committee set up by the Panchkula health and district administration intervened.

The family of Ashok Kumar, who succumbed to Covid on April 9, was handed a bill of Rs 9.77 lakh for his treatment since March 24 in Paras Hospital.

Dharam Pal Singhal, who had been admitted to the same hospital on April 17 and was discharged on May 3, was handed a bill of Rs 4.97 lakh for various procedures as well as lab tests.

The prices fixed by the state last year when similar cases of over-charging by private players was reported, were not followed in this specific instance. Insured by the SBI, it was the health insurance that bore the charges.

These three examples have shared by local MLA and Speaker of State Legislative Assembly Gian Chand Gupta with the state health minister as well as chief minister, as he demanded a probe into overcharging by private hospitals.

Letters addressed to the two ministers by Gupta said: “Several patients and their families have approached me for help during the second wave. The highest number of grievances allege that private hospitals are extracting huge amounts of money in the name of treatment of Covid
patients.”

His letter further states that a committee to investigate such cases was formed in Panchkula. “The committee investigated and found that private hospitals were in fact extracting huge amounts of money at their own desired prices. This was especially being done in cases where persons had private or government life insurance schemes. The maximum number of complaints had come in from Paras Hospital of Panchkula district.”

Haryana had in June last year issued an order capping the daily package rates for Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals between Rs 8,000 to Rs 18,000.

This move had been aimed at reducing treatment costs after allegations of overcharging against private hospitals for Covid treatment had surfaced from across the state.

“Schemes like PJYM and family health pension are not being taken into account to cover costs of Covid treatment. Those with health insurances are being charged heavy amounts of money,” he said.

The letter concludes: “Similar to Paras Hospital, several others across the state must be indulging in the same. I request you to get private hospitals audited, to check how many people and insurance companies have been duped. Serious steps such as ceasing of licences of such hospitals should be done so that people’s lives may be saved amid a national crisis.”

Contacted, the hospital administration said they would soon release a detailed statement on the issue.

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