New Delhi: The apex consumer court has asked the Centre to ensure presence of some officials at every hospital handling cases of Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) to answer queries of patients and to provide toll free enquiry number in this regard.
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) bench presided over by Justice D K Jain passed the order while dismissing a review petition filed by CGHS with a cost of Rs 10,000 for refusing to pay Rs 66,705 to Jaipur-based P B Bhandari, a former government servant.
The amount was a part of the money spent by Bhandari, who was a beneficiary of the scheme, on his bypass surgery at a hospital here.
“In the light of the admitted position on the part of the CGHS that as on the date when the complainant had undergone CABG (surgery), admissible package rate was Rs 1,33,650, we are of the opinion that lower fora has not committed any jurisdictional error in issuing the above-noted direction, warranting our interference,” the commission said.
“Consequently, the revision petition is dismissed with costs quantified at Rs 10,000, payable to the complainant/ respondent (Bhandari),” it said.
CGHS had moved the NCDRC challenging the May 2008 order of Jaipur State Consumer Commission’s order directing it to pay the money to Bhandari.
In its order, the NCDRC passed a slew of directions for the government officials and said, “CGHS must ensure that officer(s) designated by hospital, are available at the reception counter of every empanelled hospital/diagnostic centre, to assist the (CGHS) card holder/ attendant with the necessary information pertaining to his admission, treatment, charges payable and on other allied issues.”
It also asked the authorities to provide an all India toll free enquiry number from where a card holder can obtain relevant information about the nearest hospital, provision for ambulance, if required, the package rates and the name and mobile number of the designated officer.
As per Bhandari’s complaint filed before the district consumer forum, he had submitted a bill for reimbursement of a total sum of Rs 1,82,885 after which Rs 1,16,180 was paid by the authorities.