Patients complain of overcharging by some private hospitals for COVID-19 treatment

New Delhi [India], July 25 (ANI): Even as Delhi government has capped price of treatment for COVID-19, complaints of “overcharging” and “exorbitant medical bills” at private hospitals continue to surface with a family having had to cough up over Rs 16,000 for three-hour stay in an isolation ward of a private hospital without a bed.

July 25, 2020

National

4 min

zeenews

By Amit Pandey/ Joymala Bagchi
New Delhi [India], July 25 (ANI): Even as Delhi government has capped price of treatment for COVID-19, complaints of “overcharging” and “exorbitant medical bills” at private hospitals continue to surface with a family having had to cough up over Rs 16,000 for three-hour stay in an isolation ward of a private hospital without a bed.
Many families are in a hurry to get diagnosis or treatment for the patient and are often not aware of the charges fixed by the government. Many times, if the treatment lasts a few days, they are forced to take a call on shifting the patient to a government facility in view of the escalating cost of medical expenses.
Rahul Kohwal, a resident of Madangiri, said he took his uncle to a super speciality hospital in Delhi as he was facing breathing trouble around 4.30 pm on July 23.
“After an initial check-up, he was sent to an isolation ward at 6.30 pm. However, he was not provided with a bed. At isolation ward, his swabs were taken and after rapid antigen test, he was discharged at 9.45 pm,” Kohwal told ANI.
He alleged that the charges levied were excessive.
“The hospital initially asked us to deposit Rs 30,000 which we did not do. Later, while clearing the bill, we came to know the amount is Rs 16,115. It was already late so we cleared the bill and came back home. I just want to ask if three-hour treatment costs over Rs 16,000 what about patients under their treatment for days? This is like looting the patient,” he said.
The bill accessed by ANI shows the timing of discharge and includes charges for hand gloves, goggles, face mask and face shield among others. The patient tested negative for COVID-19.
Another super speciality hospital in the national capital charged Rs 38,400 for two-day admission.
Parul Purshottam Thakur, a resident of South Delhi, said when he took his father to hospital, he was told that the patient has to be admitted to ICU immediately.
“They did not admit my father until I paid them Rs 20,000. After two days, the hospital called us saying that my father’s condition is deteriorating. They told me that he needs a ventilator. He died in 38 hours of admission as per records of the hospital,” Thakur said.
The patient tested positive for COVID-19.
A relative of another patient, who did not want to be identified, said he paid a heavy amount for non-COVID treatment.
“People like us step into private hospitals out of helplessness. The charges should be genuine and not excessive,” he said.
There also have been complaints in the social media about alleged hefty charges by private hospitals.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told ANI that action will be taken if there are cases of exorbitant charges.
“If any such incidents (of hefty charges) take place, we will definitely take appropriate action,” he said.
The Delhi government had last month fixed the cost of a COVID-19 isolation bed in any private hospital in Delhi in the range of Rs 8,000-Rs 10,000.
It also fixed the price of a COVID-19 test performed by laboratories at Rs 2,400.
The rates were fixed at Rs 8,000-10,000, Rs 13,000-15,000 and Rs 15,000-18,000 including PPE costs for isolation bed, ICU without a ventilator and ICU with a ventilator respectively for private hospitals. (ANI)

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