May 8, 2020 5:09:49 am
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope has warned of stern action if private hospitals did not comply with the price cap and follow the new schedule of rates for various medical procedures released by the government on May 1.
“We came across complaints that private hospitals are charging anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for a single day of treatment. We have taken a decision to cap prices of procedures. And we will be firm on it. Private hospitals have to comply and cap charges,” Tope said.
On May 1, the state government released a notification asking hospitals to follow the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) rates, and those hospitals with no agreement with insurance companies, to follow scheduled rates prepared by the state government.
State officials said despite the notifications, hospitals have continued to overcharge. A major component of the bill, they said, are personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. The state government has capped charges of PPE from patient at not more than 10 per cent over and above the cost of such a kit to the hospital.
On Wednesday, state officials had warned Nanavati hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, to comply with the price capping. Officials said they have received multiple complaints of “over-charging” by the hospital in COVID-19 treatment on a regular basis. Dr Sudhakar Shinde, State Health Assurance Society head, said, “I have warned them (the hospital) of strict compliance, else we will take action. They have assured compliance from today.” Nanavati hospital’s spokesperson, however, declined to comment on the matter.
The state government has asked patients to complain on official email addresses of district collectors if they face issues of overcharging in hospitals. All hospitals were notified to start abiding by the new rates Thursday. “We also appeal to nursing homes, dialysis centres, and clinics to open their services. A lot of dialysis and heart surgeries are getting postponed because hospitals are not functioning normally,” Tope said.
The minister added they have reached out to the Central and Western Railway to convert train wagons into isolation facilities. “This will be our last resort, but we have requested the railways for this. We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” he said.
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