Nagpur private hospitals ordered to refund excess fee charged for Covid-19 trea...

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Nagpur municipal body has directed two Covid designated private hospitals in the city to refund excess amounts charged from patients after receiving complaints of hospitals fleecing patients in the name of Covid 19 treatment despite the ceiling set by the state government for charging coronavirus patients.

Nagpur municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe said that 80% beds in private hospitals in the city, designated as Covid centres, had been taken over by the state government and were thus regulated by the treatment cost slabs set previously by the government.

“In these private hospitals, 80% of the beds are reserved as government beds and 20% beds are their own. Hospitals can levy charge on the 20% beds as per their own policy. As far as 80% of beds are concerned, they are to be charged as per the government policy,” Mundhe was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Complaints of private hospitals overcharging patients for Covid-19 treatment have been reported from several states including Maharashtra. The Central government was the first to appoint a committee to fix costs at government and private hospitals for Covid-19 testing and treatment. Several states including Maharashtra followed suit and set up price bands to prevent profiteering in times of crisis.

Also Read: Navi Mumbai chief warns hospitals not to overcharge Covid patients

Nagpur commissioner said strict action will be taken if hospitals violated rules.

Earlier in May, the state government’s health department had issued directives restricting private hospitals from charging more than up to Rs 4,000 per day for a general bed; Rs 7,500 per day in the intensive care unit (ICU); and Rs 9,000 per day for treatment with a ventilator facility. The charges also include meals for patients. The regulations make it mandatory for all private hospitals to follow the rules laid down by the state government during a pandemic, according to the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Restrictions also apply on the billing of medicines at these facilities apart from consultancy fees of doctors along with other expenses.

Also Read: Patients protest lack of facilities, substandard food at Uttarakhand Covid care centre

The price capping was done after several incidents of exorbitant billing by private hospitals was reported from across the state including a case when a Covid-positive patient had to pay Rs 16 lakh for a 15-day stay in a private hospital and cases when people had to take loans to pay private hospitals bills.

Private hospitals like Nanavati Hospital were found to be charging Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,800 per personal protective equipment (PPE) even though the cost of PPEs were much less.

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